An exploration of the learning experiences of visually impaired physiotherapy students in higher education in the UK

Frank, Helen Louise (2017). An exploration of the learning experiences of visually impaired physiotherapy students in higher education in the UK. University of Birmingham. Ed.D.

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This research presents the learning experiences of seven visually impaired physiotherapy students in Higher Education in the UK, using case study methodology to identify the perceived factors that create barriers and enable participation in learning to become a physiotherapist for these participants.

Semi-structured interviews about university and practice based learning using the language of the ICF identified perceived environmental barriers and enablers such as support, relationships, attitudes, resources and technology that influenced activity and participation in both university and practice based learning. Individual factors and personal and professional values also influenced both aspects of learning.

The findings from university learning were shared with academic physiotherapy staff across the UK confirming awareness of the factors that created barriers and enablers in learning. Despite the existence of barriers, and a clear shared and necessary desire by academic and practice educators to work collaboratively to enable inclusive learning in physiotherapy, there was a sense of inconsistency with professional values in the overall approach to education for these participants.
Building on the ICF, and using Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological systems theory as a lens to explain the findings, this research contributes to the understanding of the experiences of visually impaired students in HE. However, there remains a challenge for physiotherapists in education and practice to consider, embrace and ensure that the professional values we hold underpin inclusive educational practices across physiotherapy education for visually impaired physiotherapy students who will become our future colleagues.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ed.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ed.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education


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