KBP - DPT Curriculum Thoughts

Back on March 30th I posted some thoughts about what the implications of the ideas being presented on this blog might be in the development of a DPT curriculum (here). Since then I have given this a lot of thought - back then it was not yet a sure thing that I would be, in fact, developing a curriculum. This summer I have been working to put the ideas into a curricular format. While there is still a lot to be done, I feel an impulse to start to share with anyone interested. One thing is clear - it is a concept based curriculum and while there are many concepts, one of the overarching concepts is cause and knowledge as an understanding of causal structure.

You may recall the Knowledge Based Practice graphic from very early on (originally here) and reproduced here:


With this model knowledge from which we base practice comes down to an understanding of causal structure (relationships) with causal models as their representations. The left side of the graphic is about building up universals and causal models from observations; and the right is about the use of causal models to interpret particular observations in practice situations.

For a curriculum I foresee a strong “theory - practice” theme throughout and sets of courses that are slanted toward theory or slanted toward practice. Keep in mind I mean theory as our current view of the world which remains open to continued inquiry and interpretation. The credit / time allocation in the curriculum is about 50% theory slanted and 50% practical slanted and 6 credits devoted entirely to reflection on these concepts (3 with an emphasis on clinical reflection; and 3 with an emphasis on knowledge development). The theory courses provide knowledge for practice, and practice provides something to theorize about. The idea is that we need practice to do what we do as DPTs; but we need theory to develop and advance what we do as DPTs (recall my position: If you want the top of the building to go higher, you need the foundation to go deeper).

Here there are three clusters, two based on theory, one on practice. CurriculumClusters

Knowledge foundations and system interactions are the core applied sciences across the strata of reality from biological to social systems. These are considered as currently proposed and accepted causal models of the real underlying causal structure. System interactions are based on a strong understanding of dynamic systems (including complex adaptive systems) with a focus on adaptation (including the anthropological perspectives of a biocultural approach and the hierarchy of human adaptability). Of course further inquiry may result in modifications and improved insight into the foundational knowledge and system interactions. Knowledge development is the process of generating universals and causal models (and modifying existing models) through inductive inference - knowledge development enhances our understanding of the world - knowledge that will be used in practice. Practice courses are based on the causal structure and involve an application of deductive and abductive inference (the three forms of inference are combined in practice in what I have called dynamic inference) in courses, labs, on campus and off campus clinical practice.

The course break down by cluster looks like this:


They are are organized across time:

DPT Year 1

DPT Year 2

DPT Year 3

And have a rather complex relationship between them that consolidates over time into fewer classes that have more credits (therefore more time). The goal is to have all knowledge converge during the three years to one set of highly integrated knowledge and understanding from which to base practice (this feature is certainly not novel as most programs have the same convergent approach).




The CAPTE and Normative Model required and recommended curriculum components are all included (easier to see with the course descriptions and objectives); therefore at the end of the day the ingredients are ultimately not different than any other DPT program. However, I do think that the explicit intra and inter course connections to practice and one another via the underlying KBP and dynamic inference framework has forced a slight reconstruction overall and modifies delivery. Again this is more clear with the course descriptions and objectives.

If anyone that has read this has thoughts - please share them with me directly (or here as a comment): smcollins1@plymouth.edu or scollinsptscd@gmail.com

If anyone is interested in meeting by phone, video conference or in person (happy to host on campus and will provide lunch) to learn more, share thoughts or be part of an advisory group  - please let me know.

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