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A participatory learning model and person-centered healthcare: moving away from “one hand clapping”

John Stephens


The level of complexity within healthcare practice makes close collaboration with ‘service users’ a necessity in the education of pre-registration healthcare professionals to promote the development of optimal clinical decision making skills in the delivery of safe, effective, and efficient person-centred care.  

This article reports on the development of a series of facilitated workshops within two pre-registration physiotherapy programmes framed by an adapted participatory learning model, underpinned by the concepts of complexity science, in an attempt gain some understanding of the facilitation of learning that is person-centred and collaborative in nature.

The participatory learning model offers a structure to organise a learning process in a manner that is not only conceptually appealing but also of practical use. The model would seem to have the potential for transfer to broader areas of professional education. In embracing participation and complexity ‘don’t be afraid to start’, and ‘learn from doing’ are key messages of encouragement. However, it is important to think about any training needs across organisations and individuals, to find and nurture relationships, and to be creative and also have clarity of purpose.    


participatory learning model, complexity, pre-registration professional education

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