Students' Perspectives of Core Value Development in a Modified Problem-based Learning Program

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Physical therapy educational programs are tasked to develop core values in their students as the foundation of professionalism. Problem-based learning (PBL) is an approach that intends to enrich exploration of issues in clinical decision making, understand how patient care is supported by other aspects of professional practice, and develop examination, intervention and communication skills. This qualitative study aimed to understand, interpret, and describe doctoral physical therapy students' perspectives of core value development in a modified PBL program. Twenty-seven of 49 students from a single class participated in the study at the time of graduation. Phenomenological methods via semi-structured focus group interviews were used to foster an in-depth understanding of students' experiences. Interviews were thematically organized by the constant comparison method and several strategies were used to establish trustworthiness. Eleven emerging themes represented the adjustment to PBL and essence of core value development from the students' perspective. An additional overarching theme "transformation" was also identified as students described a process of "transformation" from student to professional, supported by the curricular elements of the modified PBL process. These findings inform faculty on educational methods and curricular strategies, which may enhance the development of professional core values, regardless of curricular format.






Physiotherapy Theory and Practice


Taylor & Francis