Education: research (FS-20)

Focused symposium
Monday 13 May 2019, 08:30-10:00
Room A

Jensen G1Rydland Olsen N2Chesbro S3, Higgs J4Nordstrom T5 
1Creighton University, Department of Physical Therapy, Omaha, United States, 2Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Department of Health and Function, Bergan, Norway, 3American Physical Therapy Association, Vice President, Education, Alexandria, United States, 4Charles Sturt University, Sydney, Australia, 5Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, United States

Learning objective 1: Gain insight and knowledge into the central, yet under-valued and under explored role, of teaching and learning in not only the preparation of physical therapists but the practice of physical therapy;
Learning objective 2: Identify examples of organizational structures, processes and initiatives that are being implemented across three different settings (academic, clinical, and professional organization) to support education research; and
Learning objective 3: Identify critical, timely questions, based on current research, that are central to learning in physical therapist education that can be shared by a network of educational researchers.
Description: Background: While both basic science and clinical research continues to grow in the profession, the development and support for robust education research remains challenging for many physical therapist education researchers. Education research is essential if we are to fully understand the critical importance of teaching and learning that is central to the education of physical therapists, as well as the work of physical therapists with patients, clients, and communities. 1,2 Teaching and learning is done in dynamic environments where there are ongoing social interactions, events, and problems. Unfortunately education is seen from a linear, structured approach that merely aligns objectives, goals, and outcomes, and undervalues fully understanding the learning that is so central to those outcomes. 3 Physical therapy, like many other caring professions, is a profession of human improvement,2,4 where therapists treat and facilitate the well-being of patients or clients so they become independent from our care. To become a competent professional it is essential that physical therapists develop the ability to learn to perform as an adaptive learner. Education researchers across disciplines share common challenges such as having a community of scholars investigating important, robust questions; funding; and respect and visibility for the central importance of learning.1 
Purpose: The purpose of this focused symposium is to explore how the challenges faced by education researchers are also opportunities for supporting and promoting education research in physical therapy. 
Method: This symposium will describe and explore structures and processes that are being implemented in four different domains: 1) university/school structure, 2) professional association, 3) clinical practice environment, and 4) example of a collaborative research model used in a national study of excellence in PT education. 5 
Description of Process: There will be four brief presentations across four domains. The session will begin with the chair providing a brief overview of the centrality of learning and the learning sciences in both the education and practice of physical therapists, and will ask the audience to note key questions they have during the presentations. First, an example from the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences on development of health professions school structure to develop and support education researchers across education and clinical settings will be presented. 6 Second, an example from a professional association (American Physical Therapy Association-APTA) which is currently involved in implementing initiatives at the national and component level to advance education research will be shared. 7,8 A third presentation will highlight the critical importance of the nexus between education and practice in education research.9 A final presentation will share key findings from a collaborative national education research project.5 Following the presentations, there will be an interactive question and answer session with the audience that we hope would identify key opportunities for collaboration in education research. The session will conclude with a brief summary from the chair.
Implications / Conclusions: Education research has been called the hardest science of all and often linked to a persistent belief that it is all just common sense.Teaching and learning has a central role in the education of physical therapists, and the patients, clients, and communities we serve. Many of the “burning platform” problems in learning are shared across environments and countries and lend themselves to collaboration. This symposium is an opportunity to identify structures that can support education research and researchers, and possibilities for international collaboration. 
Key-words: 1. education research 2. learning 3. education
Funding acknowledgements: 
Relevance to physical therapy globally: Teaching and learning is central to the physical therapy profession across academic and clinical settings. While in many countries there is continuous growth and support for research in basic and clinical sciences, finding funding and infrastructure for education research remains a challenge. The profession needs to identify ways to fund and support important, shared educational research questions by building a robust community of education researchers, and creating structures and process to support researchers.
Target audience: Physical therapy educators across academic and clinical settings; especially those with particular interest in teaching and learning, learning sciences, and education research.