Assessing the impact of a knowledge translation intervention on physical therapists’ self-efficacy and implementation of motor learning practice

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Background: The application of motor learning (ML) principles and research in physical therapy can optimize patient outcomes. However, the translation of the accumulated knowledge in ML to clinical practice is limited. Knowledge translation interventions, which are designed to promote changes in clinical behaviors, have the potential to address this implementation gap. We developed, implemented, and evaluated a knowledge translation intervention for ML implementation that focuses on building clinical capacity among physical therapists for the systematic application of ML knowledge in clinical practice. Methods: A total of 111 physical therapists underwent the intervention, which consisted of the following: (1) an interactive didactic 20-hour course; (2) an illustrated conceptual model of ML elements; and (3) a structured clinical-thinking form. Participants completed the Physical Therapists’ Perceptions of Motor Learning (PTP-ML) questionnaire pre and post intervention. The PTP-ML was used to assess ML-related self-efficacy and implementation. Participants also provided post-intervention feedback. A sub-sample (n = 25) provided follow-up feedback more than a year after the completion of the intervention. Pre–post and post-follow-up changes in the PTP-ML scores were calculated. The information gathered from the open-ended items of the post-intervention feedback was analyzed to identify emerging themes. Results: Comparing pre- and post-intervention scores, significant changes were found in the total questionnaire scores, self-efficacy subscale scores, reported implementation subscale scores (P <.0001), and general perceptions and work environment subscale score (P <.005). The mean changes in the total questionnaire and self-efficacy scores also significantly exceeded the Reliable Change Index. In the follow-up sample, these changes were maintained. Participants felt that the intervention helped them organize their knowledge in a structured manner and consciously link their practice elements to concepts in ML. Discussion of clinical cases was reported to be the most valuable educational method, and the illustrated conceptual model of ML elements was the least valued. Respondents also suggested support activities to maintain and enhance the learning experience, including on-site mentorship and hands-on experience. Conclusions: Findings support the positive effect of an educational tool, most prominently on physical therapists’ ML self-efficacy. The addition of practical modeling or ongoing educational support may enhance intervention effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number369
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Education, Continuing
  • Educational Status
  • Humans
  • Physical Therapists
  • Self Efficacy
  • Translational Science, Biomedical


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