#7: Cost and value in health professions education

In this episode I talk to Stephen Maloney and Jon Foo on the topic of cost and value in health professions education. Steve and Jon are both associated with the Society for Cost and Value in Health Professions Education, an organisation that aims to advance effective and sustainable health professions education by increasing the evidence base for decision making, particularly with respect to questions around the cost of educational interventions, and the value returned as a result.

As educators, we have become fairly proficient in considering the educational impact of our teaching practices (value). In comparison, the resources required to implement these practices (costs) are rarely considered, and often treated as a separate consideration. In this episode we discuss the main concepts around cost and value in the context of physiotherapy education, and explore some of the implications for practice.

You can still view the planning document, which includes more information and links to additional resources on the topic. And remember that you can join the In Beta Google+ community where we make announcements about future episodes. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or any of the major podcast clients on Android.


Maloney S, Reeves S, Rivers G, Ilic D, Foo J, Walsh K. (2017). The Prato Statement on cost and value in professional and interprofessional education. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 31(1), 1-4.

Foo J, Maloney S. (2018). Embracing a dialogue about cost in physiotherapy education. Open Physio (not yet peer reviewed).

Foo J, Ilic D, Rivers G, Evans DJ, Walsh K, Haines TP, Paynter S, Morgan P, Maloney S. (2017). Using cost-analyses to inform health professions education – The economic cost of pre-clinical failure. Medical teacher.

Maloney S. Haines T. Issues of cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness for simulation in health professions education. Advances in Simulation. 2016, 1:13.

Guests on the podcast

Stephen Maloney is an Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Physiotherapy, in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University. Stephen is also the Director of Education for Monash University’s School of Primary and Allied Health Care. He is also the Chair of the  Society for Cost and Value in Health Professions Education.

Jonathan Foo is a PhD candidate at Monash University. His thesis is on the application of economic evaluations to health professions education. Other academic interests include health/policy systems, professional regulation, and the future of work. Jonathan also works clinically in private practice.

#6: New paradigms for physio education

A Squash and a Squeeze as a theoretical lens through which to consider curriculum design.

In this episode Ben and I talk to Sarah Baradell about some of her ideas on new paradigms to consider in physiotherapy education. Ben and I came across Sarah’s work when we independently read her paper, Moving forth: Imagining physiotherapy education differently, and decided that we’d love to have her share some of her thoughts on the podcast.

Sarah’s main research focus is in health professional education. She maintains an interest in threshold concepts but her work has expanded more generally to curriculum that thinks in new ways about professional learning and how to teach those courses, better understands the learning experiences of their students, and pays early consideration to bringing students into the community of practice.

We discuss student identity and a process of becoming, Ways of Thinking and Practicing, and whether or not threshold concepts have any practical implications for the undergraduate curriculum. Sarah’s thinking on curriculum has triggered a desire to help students realise their potential as change agents within the physiotherapy community of practice, and has led to her research explores the experiences of those in physiotherapy education. This episode is also notable for Ben’s deeply insightful comment about the similarities between curriculum design and Julia Donaldson’s A squash and squeeze. This is a meme that needs some attention.

You can still view the planning document, which includes more information and links to additional resources on the topic. Remember that you can join the In Beta Google+ community where we make announcements about future episodes, and you can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or any of the major podcast clients on Android.


Barradell, S. (2017). Moving forth: Imagining physiotherapy education differently. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 33(6), 439–447.

Barradell, S., Peseta, T. & Barrie, S. (2017). ‘There’s so much to it’: the ways physiotherapy students and recent graduates experience practice. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 23(2):387-406.

Guest on the podcast

Sarah Barradell is a Lecturer and PhD candidate in the Department of Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

#5: A critical pedagogy for online learning


In order to graduate physiotherapy students who are able to thrive in increasingly complex health systems, professional educators must move away from instrumental, positivist ideologies that disempower both students and lecturers. Certain forms of knowledge are presented as objective, value-free, and legitimate, while others – including the personal lives and experiences of students – are moved to the periphery and regarded as irrelevant for professional education. This has the effect of silencing students’ voices and sending the message that they are not in control of their own learning. While the integration of digital technology has been suggested as a means for developing transformative teaching and learning practices, it is more commonly used to control students through surveillance and measurement. This dominant use of technology does little more than increase the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of information delivery, while also reinforcing the rigid structures of the classroom. Physiotherapy educators who adopt a critical pedagogy may use it to create personal learning environments (PLEs) that enable students to inform their own learning based on meaningful clinical experiences, democratic approaches to learning, and interaction with others beyond the professional programme. These PLEs enable exploration, inquiry and creation as part of the curriculum, and play a role in preparing students to engage with the complex and networked systems of the early 21st century. While the potential for pedagogical transformation via the integration of digital technology is significant, we must be critical of the idea that technology is neutral and be aware that our choices concerning tools and platforms have important implications for practice.

Earlier this year the Critical Physiotherapy Network published Manipulating practices: A critical physiotherapy reader. The book is a collection of critical writing from a variety of authors dealing with a range of topics related to physiotherapy practice and education.  One of the interesting features of this collection is that it is completely open access, which means that the authors, and not the publishers, have the intellectual property rights to make choices about what is permissable to do with the content of the book. While the entire book is available in different formats, including PDF, HTML, EPUB and XML, there is no audio version.

As an experiment we’re going to publish one chapter of the book as a podcast and see what kind of response we get. If you think that this is useful and would like to see other resources made available in this way, then please do let us know.


#4: Guided choice-based learning

In this episode of In Beta we talk to Joost van Wijchen at the HAN University of Applied Science in the Netherlands. For the past 3 years Joost and some of his colleagues have been experimenting with what they call guided choice-based learning, a short description of which might be that it is a curriculum without the curriculum.

At the heart of the concept is the idea that, within any educational programme, content and instruction should not be the main focus for educators. Rather, the emphasis is on the novice colleague (or student) who develops and becomes an autonomous, socialised physiotherapist with true confidence in their own competence and capabilities. As teachers they are part of a community of practice with their younger colleagues, but also have the responsibility to facilitate and guide students in their developmental journey of becoming a physiotherapist. At the same time students help the teachers to “stay sharp, think in new directions, challenge the obvious, and to remain reflective and critical.”

You can still view the planning document, which includes more information and links to additional resources on the topic. Remember that you can join the In Beta Google+ community where we make announcements about future episodes, and you can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or any of the major podcast clients on Android.

Guest on the podcast

Joost van Wijchen (Twitter, LinkedIn)

Joost is a Senior Lecturer and educational designer in the Department of Physiotherapy at the HAN University of Applied Sciences in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. He has a special interest in solvability, constructionism, connectivism and complementarity in learning.

Note: We had a bad internet connection during this conversation with the result that the the audio quality of recording was terrible. Unfortunately, we only realised how bad after we had finished. Joost kindly agree to go back and re-record some of the worst sections. We will ensure that future episodes don’t have the same problem.

#3: Clinical practice assessment forms

In this episode David Nicholls from the Auckland University of Technology talks about their (relatively) new clinical practice assessment form, as well as the process of development and implementation. During the conversation we move from the instrumental mechanics of how the form works, to discussing how the deeper aspects of practice are informed by the social norms of the profession, and how these subtly influence the choices we make about clinical assessment.

Note: This episode follows a slightly different format in that it wasn’t so much planned as it was simply scheduled. Dave had mentioned that AUT had been through a process of reviewing their clinical assessment form and I (Michael) wanted to talk to him about that process. We only decided quite late that we would record it and release it as an In Beta episode, which is why we didn’t have the usual run-up and planning component.


Dalton, M., Davidson, M. & Keating, J. (2011). The Assessment of Physiotherapy Practice (APP) is a valid measure of professional competence of physiotherapy students: A cross-sectional study with Rasch analysis. Journal of Physiotherapy, 57(4), 239–245.

Dalton, M., Davidson, M. & Keating, J. L. (2012). The Assessment of Physiotherapy Practice (APP) is a reliable measure of professional competence of physiotherapy students: A reliability study. Journal of Physiotherapy, 58(1), 49–56.

O’Connor, A., McGarr, O., Cantillon, P., McCurtin, A. & Clifford, A. (2017). Clinical Performance Assessment Tools in Physiotherapy Practice Education: A Systematic Review. Physiotherapy.

Guest on the podcast

David Nicholls is an Associate Professor at the Auckland University of Technology. He is also a founding member of the Critical Physiotherapy Network (@criticalphysio) and has recently published The End of Physiotherapy (20% discount with this coupon).

#2: Internationalisation of the curriculum

In this episode we discuss internationalisation of the undergraduate physiotherapy curriculum, including what we understand it to be, how to go about doing it, and how to determine if it’s working. You can find out more about the projects mentioned during the session at:

You can also still visit the planning document in Google Drive, which includes additional information about the session. If you’re interested in doing some reading on internationalisation in general, here are some resources we found helpful in preparing for the conversation:

Remember that you can join the In Beta Google+ community where we make announcements about the community and discuss upcoming conversations. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or any of the major podcast clients on Android.

Guests on the podcast

Anestis Divanoglou: Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Iceland (Twitter, LinkedIn, and ResearchGate).



Rachel Forsyth: Associate Head, Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Manchester Metropolitan University (Twitter, LinkedIn, and ResearchGate).



#1: Inquiry-based learning

In this first episode of the In Beta podcast, Ben Ellis, of Oxford Brookes University, hosts a discussion on the use of inquiry-based learning to develop critical thinking in students as part of a module on long-term conditions. Ben presented the details of his project and then took questions from the guests.

Here is the Google Document we used to plan the session, which includes additional information on the topic of inquiry-based learning. We also created a list of resources and further reading:

Guests on the podcast