A Framework of Personal and Environmental Learning-based Strategies to Foster Therapist Expertise
This presentation introduces a comprehensive, theory-based framework of learning-based strategies by which to promote the expertise of the various groups of professionals who provide services to children with physical and mental health difficulties, and their families. This framework is based on a review of strategies discussed in the expertise literature in physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine, nursing, education, and counseling and psychotherapy. Three strategies to facilitate learning and competence development (based on theories of ecological systems, competence development, and learning) are discussed: (a) personal experience to develop skills and knowledge (personal level strategies), (b) the provision of supports and resources (person-environment “fit” strategies), and (c) workplace opportunities (environmental strategies). Together, these strategy groups provide a comprehensive understanding of the ways to facilitate experiential, instructional, and observational learning for practicing therapists. Implications for managers and therapists are discussed, including the importance of providing supportive, learning-oriented work environments; the need to tailor resources, supports, and opportunities to meet the different needs of novices and experts; the importance of ensuring various forms of feedback; and the importance of developing practice-relevant tools. The review indicates the need for research studies to evaluate the relative effectiveness of the strategy groups.
Keywords: Therapist Expertise, Learning Strategies, Framework
Dr. Gillian King
Research Scientist, Applied Research and Evaluation, Child and Parent Resource Institute