Can we effectively teach postgraduate physiotherapists online?
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In response to work-life imbalance, financial, workforce and demographic factors, modern clinical education has seen the development of distance education tools including podcasts, vodcasts, web-conferencing and electronic access to the literature. For allied health professionals such advances coincide with increasing pressures in our living environment - e.g., blurring of professional lines and changes in profession structures. In the light of these factors, what is our vision for postgraduate, discipline-specific education? Specifically, can we use e-Education strategies successfully to up-skill and retain workforce? We will use an example of an Australian postgraduate physiotherapy program utilising blended learning principles (including intensive on-campus blocks and flexible delivery modes) to consider an alternative structure for postgraduate clinical learning. In self-reflection questionnaires of students and staff, we surveyed a range of indicators including perceptions of online education and competency development. We found that at the outset of the program whilst students agreed that electronic media can be useful tools for learning physiotherapy, students were not all agreed that an online course was an effective method for learning the principles of patient assessment and treatment. The results will demonstrate that this notion evolves with time and fluctuates with the multi-dimensional nature of not only postgraduate education but also flexible learning.
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Medicine, Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy