Development of Domains of Competence and Competencies for Professional Dpt Education


Competency-based education (CBE) is gaining widespread acceptance as a viable mechanism for transforming education within the health professions. As described in medical education, the components of CBE include a framework of competencies organized within domains, milestones that provide a developmental continuum, and entrustable professional activities (EPAs) that define the essential clinical activities a learner must be entrusted to perform in practice. Proposed benefits of CBE include transparency for learners and the public, an emphasis on lifelong learning over repeated short-term achievement, and the creation of interdependence between education and health systems driven by societal need. In 2017, Jensen et al. recommended a √ícomprehensive, longitudinal approach for standardization of perfor_mance-based learning outcomes grounded in foundational domains of professional competence√ď. The purpose of this report is to describe the progress toward transformation of a DPT curriculum to a competency-based framework by starting with a modified Delphi study to develop domains of competence and competencies for a professional DPT education program.


Following the initiation of a larger curriculum renewal process, a Competency and Entrustment Writing Team (CEWT) was formed and charged to draft domains of competence, competencies, milestones and EPAs. A modified Delphi process was used to reach agreement on both the domains of competence and the competencies. 47 experts were surveyed (41 Physical Therapy faculty, 2 Medicine faculty, 1 Occupational Therapy faculty, and 3 clinicians). A threshold level of agreement of 85% or higher was used to inform final decisions on domains, with the caveat that all feedback and comments were reviewed regardless of agreement level.


The writing and Delphi processes resulted in a total of 60 competencies, organized into 8 domains. Two survey cycles were required to achieve the 85% agreement threshold or higher for the domains. One survey was required to achieve the agreement threshold for the competencies. Onsite town hall faculty meetings were held following both domain and competency surveys to discuss all responses to the survey feedback and to achieve consensus. These meetings helped to develop the shared understanding of language and concepts across the faculty and lay the groundwork for future work in determining milestones and EPAs. The final domains with their associated descriptions and the competencies within each domain will be presented.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:

CBE provides a mechanism to link our professional education programs directly to the changing needs of society. This report describes the process used to develop domains of competence and competencies as part of our overall curriculum renewal process, a process that is focused on continued excellence in physical therapist education and is guided by the needs of society. Additional updates will be disseminated throughout the curriculum renewal process.

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  • Control #: 26653
  • Type: Platform Presentation - Research Type
  • Event/Year: ELC2020
  • Authors: Steven Ambler
  • Keywords:

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