Self-Directed Learning: A Paradigm Shift for Physiotherapy Education

  • Jonathan Quartey
  • Carina Eksteen
  • Glynis Pickworth
  • Ajediran Bello
  • Josephine Ahenkorah
Keywords: Self-directed learning, teacher-centred, Physiotherapy, student-centred


Training physiotherapists to a level where they can influence the standard of health care practice could be a complex process. Entry-level physiotherapy education in Ghana is a continuum between academic and clinical training during which they have to integrate the application and development of skills in communication, collaboration, advocatory and leadership. Self-directed learning is considered by many as one of the appropriate methodologies to allow practitioners to stay up-to-date and knowledgeable of the current literature. A teacher-centered approach is characterized by lecturing and hands-on skills training as the main or only way of facilitating student learning. Students who qualify as physiotherapists from teacher-centered tertiary institutions need to be self-directed life-long learners to be able to meet the demands of a complex work environment in the field of physiotherapy and professional health care delivery. The teacher-centered traditional approach to teaching and learning appears to be the predominant form of teaching among most universities in Ghana. Since a student-centered teaching approach has been widely recommended as the approach of choice, especially in the education of health care professionals, there is a need to determine if it is possible to design and implement physiotherapy based modules that include student-centered approaches such as Self-directed learning which may address minimal guidance that is usually associated with teacher centered tertiary training in Ghana.