Can we impact clinical practice? Yes we can!

So the Lower Limb Amputee Rehabilitation course has, with sadness and relief, come to an end.  Sadness because there is now a bit of a void in our lives and relief because we can use that void to get on with other work that has been building up whilst we have been so engaged and distracted by the course.

Over 6 weeks through June and July we had over 3000 people actively engage in the course and over 1000 of those completed the demanding final tasks to receive their certificates. The course was tough.  Each week there was a lot of reading to do, a quiz to complete, a case study to reflect upon and the discussion forum to contribute to.  Then in the final week we asked people to submit a final assignment, pass the quiz with a score of 80%, complete the competency tool and the evaluation form.  We have a lot of respect for the participants that got through all of this, in their own time, whilst carrying on with their normal day to day work/study/activities. We thank you for trusting us to deliver a good learning experience and engaging with the course, in particular the discussion forums, making it a great learning experience for all.

As is usual in the innovative projects that we dive head first into we have learned a lot from this challenging experience.  From an educational perspective we have come to understand that we are serious about education, about providing a good learning experience and ensuring that there is broad participation and engagement.  With respect to our students we have learned that people are most concerned with receiving certificates at the end of a course. For many this is well deserved yet some expect certificates for simple attendance, a trait that we have instilled throughout the profession through face to face course attendance.  We have also learned a lot about the use of discussion forums in courses and are beginning to understand the independent use of group work that goes on alongside these courses and the impact that can have.  Much of this educational perspective Tony expands upon in his Voices post about taking CPD seriously.

Personally I always love to explore and learn more about our global profession.  Through this course we have had our eyes opened to different cultural educational expectations as well as the differing levels of education in our profession around the world.  The active discussion forums have taught us a lot about the differences in amputee presentation depending on location as well as varying aspects of their management around the world.

With respect to technology, we have learned some interesting things about internet accessibility in many different and unexpected circumstances.  As well I was surprised by the number of people accessing the course on mobile devices, more than by computer.  This is something we need to address.

The most exciting thing however is that we have learned that we can have a positive impact on clinical practice.  This is a question that people ask of Physiopedia and the work that we do.  How does Physiopedia impact on clinical practice? In other words, is what you’re doing really that important.  There are two circumstances in particular that stand out in my mind, both relate to re-evaluation of service delivery to lower limb amputees as a direct result of learning on the course.  One of these instances was in South Africa the other in New Zealand. I was super super psyched to hear these stories!

So do I really think that Physiopedia has an impact on clinical practice?  No I don’t think so, I know so, we have the evidence.  I’m super excited to build on this to give more opportunity to develop clinical practice all around the world, the question is, what next….?

A little extra…. Barbara Rau, ICRC course lead, turned the tables on us and interviewed Tony and myself at the end of the course.