Purpose: Students often have passive or counterproductive responses to feedback. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate a feedback training module containing online learning and live simulation. It was hypothesized that 1) student confidence in feedback skills would increase following the module, and 2) compared with a control group who undertook the module after their clinical placement, the feedback group who undertook the module before their placement would perform better on clinical placement on the sections of the Assessment of Physiotherapy Practice related to communication, but those related to clinical skills would not be affected. Methods: A convenience sample of all 68 students in the first of two years of a masters graduate-entry physiotherapy program in Australia was recruited for the study. The feedback group (N=46) received the module before their 5-week orthopaedic clinical placement, and the control group (N=22) received the module after their placement. The module included two-hours of online independent learning and three-hours of simulated learning activity. Students provided and received feedback and were facilitated in developing skills to explore the understandings and attitudes underlying behaviours. Results: All students rated the module as having a large impact on their feedback abilities. The increased confidence in feedback skills was significant for the feedback group. Compared with the control group and with the previous two cohorts undertaking the same placement, the feedback group had improved performance at the mid-point, but not at the end of their five week placement. Conclusions: A focussed feedback module, including a simulated learning activity, increased student confidence and was perceived by students as having a positive impact on their feedback skills. There was a positive impact of the module on student performance during but not at the end of their clinic placement. An incidental finding was the suggestion that a time gap between on-campus learning and the related clinical placement may have a detrimental effect on student performance.

Author Bio(s)

Neil Tuttle, BSc, GradDipAdvManipTher, MPhil, PhD, is a Physiotherapist and Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy in the School of Allied Health Sciences at Griffith University.on the Gold Coast in Australia

Andrea Bialocerkowski, BAppSc, MAppSc, GDipPubHlth,PhD, is a Physiotherapist and A/Prof and head of the School of Allied Health Sciences at Griffith University on the Gold Coast in Australia


The authors would like to acknowledge support for this project from the Australian Government. We would also like to thank NHETSIM for making their resources available and the students and facilitators who participated in the study.



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Figure 1

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Figure 2

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Figure 3

FeedbackEthicsApproval.docx (14 kB)
Ethics approval letter

2015 Feedback pre Module Student questionnaires.docx (18 kB)
Appendix 1



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