Open Journal Systems

Technology assisted cultural awareness between Haitian and American Physical therapy students

Jean Weaver, Brandon Koehler


Purpose.  Globalization demands that student physical therapists be exposed to opportunities for developing intercultural competence that in turn translates into intercultural care provision upon career entrance. This need for intercultural competence and care has been challenging to develop during formal education of physical therapy students as course instructors and students don’t always have the financial means to travel to foreign lands for intercultural experiences.  The purpose of this study was to explore intercultural sensitivity through the use of a technology assisted learning experience. The research questions were: 1. How was a technology assisted learning experience provided for physical therapy students in a United States classroom (or in another country), which challenged the students’ cultural knowledge, intercultural sensitivity and openness to others? 2. Did creating a virtual intercultural experience consulting on a patient case provide the desired opportunity and allow students to understand future care challenges?  Methods. University of Findlay faculty developed an online Skype session for physical therapy students to discuss a patient case with Haitian physical therapy students followed by an assessment of the Skype session’s impact on cultural knowledge, intercultural sensitivity, and openness to others. Results. Students expressed a desire to learn more about the opposing culture, were surprised by the differing resources available, and wanted further opportunities to share information and learn from each other. Conclusion. A virtual patient case discussion did provide a forum for unique intercultural exchanges and provides a tool for future research and exploration in developing intercultural sensitivity.


Technology assisted, intercultural competency, cultural knowledge, physical therapy students


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