Technology-mediated learning in physiotherapy education: the social construction of practice knowledge.
Frantz, Jose M.
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Clinical practice is complex, requiring practitioners to interpret a diverse range of inter-related variables in order to make clinical decisions as part of patient management. This process is often intuitive and therefore hidden from students and less experienced clinicians, making the cognitive processes that inform clinical decision-making difficult to learn. In addition, educators still emphasise the learning of knowledge and skills through didactic teaching methods, such as lectures, in which students are passive “recipients” of knowledge. Unless physiotherapy educators design activities that aim to induct students into the professional culture and help them to develop ways of thinking and being that go beyond knowledge and skills, our students will continue to struggle with clinical reasoning. In this position paper, we argue that the careful integration of technology as an adjunct to traditional lectures can be used to facilitate discussion and interaction as a way of developing practice knowledge in students. This leads to higher cognitive functioning as it provides the means by which learners construct their own personally meaningful understanding of the world through interaction with others. The promise of technology in physiotherapy education lies in its ability to create transformative learning experiences through enhanced communication that is mediated by more experienced teachers or peers. If technology is used to enhance the learning environment by providing richer and more meaningful platforms for communication and discussion, it may have a role to play in the social construction of knowledge as part of contextualised learning spaces.