Developing Physiotherapy professional practice through the use of ‘social wikis’

C, Cunningham. and O Donoghue, G (2013) Developing Physiotherapy professional practice through the use of ‘social wikis’. In: 6th scientific meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED), 21st February to Friday 22nd February 2013, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


OBJECTIVES To explore the use of wikis in the development of key health professional skills including critical appraisal of literature, collaborative work, use of technology, peer discussion and reflective practice. METHODS Groups of BSc Physiotherapy students created and contributed to a Wiki (Blackboard) regarding exercise for specific clinical populations and reported on their Wiki learning experience in an online reflective journal over a semester. Reflective online journal data were coded and analysed for common themes. RESULTS Students produced a number of creative, user- friendly Wikis which demonstrated a strong ability to appraise and summarise literature. The online reflective journals mapped the progressive experiences of an undergraduate cohort with social media and reflect the learning experience. Common themes which emerged from the students’ journal data are outlined below. Group Learning experiences • Learned from others • Learned to delegate • Learned to compromise • The need for a group leader was identified • Frustated by a lack of contribution from some group members Wiki as a tool • Wiki content will act as a useful and readily accessible resource for professional practice • Concerns regarding wiki-recorded participation levels and their accuracy in reflecting the workload of individuals • Frustration with software eg. having difficulty with formatting • Students expressed a reluctance to edit others’ work as didn’t feel expert in the topic area DISCUSSION The Introduction of the wiki has led to a modular transformation and enabled an assessment re-design. Overall students engaged well with the process and learning objectives were met. Any negative feedback was based on group dynamic and software issues, the latter which may be remedied via the use of alternative Wiki software. CONCLUSION Wikis were found to be a useful tool in the development of key health professional skills, fostering teamwork and acting as an ongoing learning resource.

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