Research Article| Volume 37, ISSUE 2, P290.e17-290.e24, March 2023

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Identifying Clinical Behaviors Using the Motor Learning Classification Framework: A Pilot Study

Published:January 16, 2021DOI:



      Although differences in clinical interactions with patients between students and experienced clinicians are well described, differences in therapeutic training behaviors have not been explored, especially in relation to motor learning principles.


      This pilot study compared clinical behaviors between speech language pathology (SLP) students and experienced SLPs in a voice therapy task, using prepractice variables in the Motor Learning Classification Framework (MLCF).


      Using a quasi-experimental design, five final-year undergraduate SLP students and four experienced SLPs with a voice therapy caseload taught a standardized patient to produce a vocal siren. Two trained raters categorized the clinicians’ behaviors using the MLCF.


      High intrarater reliability (91.9%, 92.3%) and interrater reliability (89.6%, 82.1%) were shown across both raters. Both clinician groups used the same percentage of behaviors classified as verbal information but differed in the subtypes of these behaviors. Experienced clinicians used behaviors categorized as problem-solving and only experienced clinicians used repeated behavior sequences that included perceptual training. Both groups used significantly more talking behaviors than doing behaviors.


      The MLCF can be reliably used to identify prepractice behaviors during client interactions in voice therapy. Students and experienced clinicians showed similarities in behaviors, but experienced clinicians used more problem solving and perceptual training behaviors than students. These differences have implications for student training. The greater use of talking behaviors than doing behaviors warrants further investigation into whether this impacts the subsequent quality of practice engaged by the client and ultimately treatment effectiveness.

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