Successful experiential learning via meeting contemporary field-based, experiential instructor needs

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Physical Therapy


With the greater emphasis on experiential learning as an integral component of the value proposition of a University of Dayton education, it is important to understand current examples of experiential learning. The School of Education and Health Sciences programs are veterans of experiential learning, as the accrediting bodies of most of its programs demand in-the-field, or clinical, learning as an essential component of program curricula. To create and sustain academic-clinical partnerships, academic programs must maintain an understanding of the needs of their field-based partners. The aim of this presentation is to provide the University with an example of using the results of clinical education research to promote successful experiential learning through relevant academic partner support of clinical partners.

Recent multi-institutional research conducted by faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy sought to understand contemporary needs of its clinical partners. The researchers used a constructivist grounded theory approach, collecting and analyzing survey, interview, and focus group data to identify themes of what support in-the-field educators need to promote successful field-based learning experiences.

Five main themes arose from the data with an overarching theory grounded in the data suggesting that academic directors of clinical education are uniquely skilled and positioned to provide support to clinical partners. None of these themes appear specific to the physical therapy profession, and are proposed for consideration by other University programs. The practical implementation of each of these themes will be discussed to promote successful academic support of its field-based, experiential instructors.


Experiential learning, Field-based learning, Physical therapist education, Clinical education, Clinical education faculty needs


Education | Medicine and Health Sciences

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