How Fast Are You Running to 'Keep in the Same Place'? Using Evidence-Based Learning Strategies to Free PT and PTA Curricula from the ‘Red Queen's Trap’


Like Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, PT and PTA educators often find themselves running very fast through a semester or an academic year, only to find ‘things round them never changed their places at all.’ Worse still are the academic programs that cling to lecture and other teacher-centric methodologies where the running done by the faculty often far exceeds that done by students. This presentation is designed to provide PT and PTA educators evidence-based strategies for freeing their curricula from the Red Queen’s trap of doing ‘all the running you can do to keep in the same place.’ Strategies for transforming a curriculum into an adult-learner centered educational experience will be presented. Hybrid, blended learning and other active learning methodologies will be presented so PT and PTA educators will be well-positioned to transform their curricula to optimize the educational experience for future PT and PTA practitioners.

Methods and/or Description of Project

This presentation is based on a review of current literature and practice in PT and PTA education and is not based on the results of a study or project.


Not applicable.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education

This presentation is direclty relevant to the conference theme 'Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education as it provides learners with contemporary, evidence-based educational methodologies and strategies to transform current curricula from teacher-centric to learner-centric. Andragogy, as opposed to pedagogy, is explained and emphasized.


Doyle T. Learner-Centered Teaching. Putting Research on Learning into Practice. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing; 2011.

Boser U. Learn Better. New York, NY: Rodale, Inc; 2017.

Major CH, Harris MS, Zakrajsek T. Teaching for Learning. 101 Intentionally Designed Educational Activities to Put Students on the Path to Success. New York, NY: Routledge; 2016.

Zull JE. From Brain to Mind. Using Neuroscience to Guide Change in Education. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing; 2011.

Freeman S, Eddy SL, McDonough M, Smith M, et al. Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2014, 111(23); 8410-8415.

Michael J. Where’s the evidence that active learning works? Advances in Physiology Education. 2006, 30(4); 159-167.

Inside Higher Education. Accessed April 10, 2017.

Course Objectives

1. Define andragogy and differentiate andragogy from pedagogy.
2. Define active learning and describe at least 3 active learning strategies found to be effective in optimizing student performance.
3. Define learner-centered teaching (LCT) and describe at least 3 LCT strategies applicable to your curriculum.
4. Discuss the implications of the medical education program at the University of Vermont eliminating lectures from their curriculum.

Instructional Methods

Lecture with audience question and answer opportunities.

Tentative Outline/Schedule

15 minutes Overview of the evidence behind andragogy, active learning and learner-centered teaching
30 minutes Using principles of andragogy and active learning and learner-centered teaching strategies in designing a DPT curriculum
30 minutes Using principles of andragogy and active learning and learner-centered teaching strategies in designing a PTA curriculum
15 minutes Panel discussion and audience questions and answers

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  • Control #: 2750807
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2017
  • Authors: Dr. Elisa Zuber, Jeanne Smith, Amy Garrigues
  • Keywords:

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