Developing physiotherapy students’ digital capabilities to enhance future employability and patient care

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Background: Digital capabilities are essential for lifelong employability in a digital world (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2017). Increasingly, these capabilities are sought after and expected by healthcare employers. Digital competence is the attitude and ability that enables individuals to embrace technology, collaborate with others and work effectively in a modern, digital environment (NHS Health Education England, 2018). Physiotherapists need to be competent and confident in the use of digital in the workplace to ensure that they provide the best patient care possible. Therefore, it is essential that the development of digital competence is carefully scaffolded within all physiotherapy programme curricula.
Purpose: To develop and enhance our physiotherapy students' digital capabilities by systematically embedding learning and assessment opportunities for the acquisition of digital competencies across our BSc, MSc and DPT programmes.
Methods: At Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland we implemented an innovative mapping process using the UK's JISC Digital Capability Framework for Higher Education and Research (2015) and Bloom's Digital Taxonomy (Churches, 2008). The JISC Framework encompasses six elements of increasing complexity:
1) ICT proficiency;
2) information, data and media literacies;
3) digital creation, problem solving and innovation;
4) digital communication, collaboration and participation;
5) digital learning and development; and
6) digital identity and well-being.
Across our physiotherapy programmes, learning, teaching and assessment activities were mapped with reference to the six aforementioned digital capability elements and outlined explicitly in the transferable skills section of all new module descriptors using Bloom's Digital Taxonomy.
Results: Examples of educational activities designed to develop students' digital capabilities across the physiotherapy programmes include: ICT proficiency (PowerPoint, word processing); information and data literacy (database literature searching, Excel, statistical packages); digital creation (mobile apps, web page design, wikis, video production); digital collaboration (cloud collaboration tools, social media, video conferencing); digital development (personal development e-portfolio); and professional digital identity (blogs, electronic CV, e.g. LinkedIn). This explicit referencing of digital capabilities enables students to elucidate in an e-portfolio to future employers the skills they developed throughout their degree programme.
Conclusion(s): Today's students will have to respond with agility over their lifetimes to shifting labour market requirements and fast-changing developments in digital technologies in society and healthcare. The UK's JISC Digital Capability Framework is an effective tool for educators to use within curricula design to ensure that a comprehensive range of digital capabilities are progressively developed.
Implications: This innovative digital capabilities mapping process using the UK's JISC Framework and its associated checklists and role profiles easily can be replicated in any university programme of study, ensuring that the required range of capabilities are progressively developed by students. The end product of this should be an employable physiotherapist fit for the digital world of work and able to deliver digitally enhanced patient care.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • education
  • digital capabilities
  • students
  • employability

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