Exploring the pros and cons of online courses for physiotherapists — a theoretical study





physiotherapy, online education, synchronous learning, asynchronous learning, blended learning


Physiotherapy, as a constantly evolving discipline, requires professionals to continually update their knowledge base to enhance patient care. To facilitate this growth, lifelong learning through supplementary educational courses plays a crucial role. The flexible online education has opened new opportunities for adult learners, including physiotherapists, to pursue further education while managing their daily commitments. This paper examines the conceptual framework of online learning in the context of physiotherapy education. It explores the advantages and disadvantages of online courses compared to traditional classroom methods. Online education is classified into three primary types: synchronous, asynchronous, and blended or hybrid courses. Synchronous courses involve real-time interaction with teachers, while asynchronous courses allow learners to access materials at their own convenience. Blended or hybrid courses combine online learning with face-to-face instruction. Advantages of online courses include accessibility, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, diverse learning resources, and the opportunity to build a global professional network. On the other hand, online courses lack continuous communication and interaction between teachers and learners, potentially hindering the learning experience. Learners must possess strong digital skills and self-study capabilities to succeed in online education.
The study concludes that the choice between traditional and online education depends on specific course objectives and participant expectations. Regardless of the mode of education, the active participation and engagement of learners are crucial for professional success. As the field of physiotherapy education continues to evolve, ongoing research and innovation are vital to improve the overall learning experience and ensure optimal outcomes for lifelong learners in the healthcare field.


Download data is not yet available.

Benton AD, Benton DC. Evolution of physiotherapy scholarship: A comparative bibliometric analysis of two decades of English published work. Physiother Res Int. 2019;24(2):e1760. doi: 10.1002/pri.1760. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/pri.1760   Google Scholar

Frank JR, Snell LS, Cate OT, et al. Competency-based medical education: theory to practice. Med Teach. 2010;32(8):638-645. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2010.501190. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3109/0142159X.2010.501190   Google Scholar

Pinto WA, Rossetti HB, Araújo A, et al. Impacto de um programa de educação continuada na qualidade assistencial oferecida pela fisioterapia em terapia intensiva [Impact of a continuous education program on the quality of assistance offered by intensive care physiotherapy]. Rev Bras Ter Intensiva. 2014;26(1):7-12. doi:10.5935/0103-507x.20140002. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5935/0103-507X.20140002   Google Scholar

Ranganathan H, Singh DKA, Kumar S, et al. Readiness towards online learning among physiotherapy undergraduates. BMC Med Educ. 2021;21(1):376. doi: 10.1186/s12909-021-02803-8. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-021-02803-8   Google Scholar

Turhan B, Yakut Y. The opinions of physiotherapy students on online anatomy education during COVID-19 pandemic. Anatomy. 2020;14(2):134-138. doi: 10.2399/ana.20.776029 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2399/ana.20.776029   Google Scholar

Olivier B, Verdonck M, Caseleijn D. Digital technologies in undergraduate and postgraduate education in occupational therapy and physiotherapy: A scoping review. JBI Evid Synth. 2020;18(5):863-892. doi: 10.11124/JBISRIR-D-19-00210. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11124/JBISRIR-D-19-00210   Google Scholar

Salakhova VB, Shukshina LV, Belyakova NV, Kidinov AV, Morozova NS and Osipova NV. The problems of the COVID-19 pandemic in higher education. Front. Educ. 2022;7:803700. doi: 10.3389/feduc.2022.803700. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2022.803700   Google Scholar

Mok KH. Impact of COVID-19 on higher education: Critical reflections. High Educ Policy. 2022;35(3):563-567. doi: 10.1057/s41307-022-00285-x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41307-022-00285-x   Google Scholar

Gherheș V, Stoian CE, Fărcașiu MA, Stanici M. E-Learning vs. Face-to-face learning: Analyzing students’ preferences and behaviors. Sustainability. 2021;13(8):4381. doi: 10.3390/su13084381 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084381   Google Scholar

Cook KC, Grant-Davis K. Online Education Global Questions, Local Answers. New York: Routledge; 2005. doi: 10.4324/9781315223971. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315223971   Google Scholar

Kemp N, Grieve R. Face-to-face or face-to-screen? Undergraduates’ opinions and test performance in classroom vs. online learning. Front Psychol. 2014;5:1278. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01278. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01278   Google Scholar

Negash S, Wilcox MV. E-learning classifications: Differences and similarities. In: Negash S, Whitman M, Woszczynski A, Hoganson K, Mattord H, eds. Handbook of Distance Learning for Real-Time and Asynchronous Information Technology Education. Hershey: Information Science Reference; 2008:1-23. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-59904-964-9.ch001   Google Scholar

Falloon, G. Making the connection: Moore’s theory of transactional distance and its relevance to the use of a virtual classroom in postgraduate online teacher education. JRTE. 2011;43(3):187-209. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2011.10782569   Google Scholar

Bernard RM, Abrami PC, Lou Y, et al. How Does distance education compare with classroom instruction? A Meta-analysis of the empirical literature. Rev Educ Res. 2004;74(3):379-439. doi: 10.3102/00346543074003379. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543074003379   Google Scholar

Murphy E, Rodríguez-Manzanares MA, Barbour M. Asynchronous and synchronous online teaching: Perspectives of Canadian high school distance education teachers. Br J Educ Technol. 2010;42(4):583-591. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01112.x. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01112.x   Google Scholar

Bonk CJ, Graham CE. The Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer; 2006.   Google Scholar

Makhdoom N, Khoshhal KI, Algaidi S, Heissam K, Zolaly MA. “Blended learning” as an effective teaching and learning strategy in clinical medicine: A comparative cross-sectional university-based study. J Taibah Univ Medical Sci. 2013;8(1):12-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jtumed.2013.01.002 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtumed.2013.01.002   Google Scholar

Regmi K, Jones L. A systematic review of the factors – enablers and barriers – affecting e-learning in health sciences education. BMC Med Educ. 2020;20(1):1-18. doi: 10.1186/s12909-020-02007-6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-020-02007-6   Google Scholar

Maloney S, Haas R, Keating JL, et al. Breakeven, cost benefit, cost effectiveness, and willingness to pay for web-based versus face-to-face education delivery for health professionals. J Med Internet Res. 2012;14(2):e47. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2040. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2196/jmir.2040   Google Scholar

Steed C. Web-Based Training. Brookfield: Gower Publishing; 1999.   Google Scholar

Anderson T, ed. Theory and Practice of Online Learning. 2nd ed. Edmonton: AU Press; 2008. https://www.aupress.ca/app/uploads/120146_99Z_Anderson_2008-Theory_and_Practice_of_Online_Learning.pdf. Accessed September 15, 2023.   Google Scholar

van der Keylen P, Lippert N, Kunisch R, Kühlein T, Roos M. Asynchronous, digital teaching in times of COVID-19: A teaching example from general practice. GMS J Med Educ. 2020;37(7):Doc98. doi: 10.3205/zma001391.   Google Scholar

Blau I, Weiser O, Eshet-Alkalai Y. How do medium naturalness and personality traits shape academic achievement and perceived learning? An experimental study of face-to-face and synchronous e-learning. Res Learn Technol. 2017;25:1974. doi: 10.25304/rlt.v25.1974. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v25.1974   Google Scholar

Vallée A, Blacher J, Cariou A, Sorbets E. Blended learning compared to traditional learning in medical education: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Med Internet Res. 2020;22(8):e16504. doi: 10.2196/16504. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2196/16504   Google Scholar

Nieuwoudt JE. Investigating synchronous and asynchronous class attendance as predictors of academic success in online education. Australasian J Educ Technol. 2020;36:15–25. doi: 10.14742/ajet.5137. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.5137   Google Scholar

Sweetman DS. Making virtual learning engaging and interactive. FASEB Bioadv. 2020;3(1):11-19. doi: 10.1096/fba.2020-00084. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1096/fba.2020-00084   Google Scholar

Harrison KL. A call to action: Online learning and distance education in the training of couple and family therapists. J Marital Fam Ther. 2021;47(2):408-423. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12512. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12512   Google Scholar

Hernández-García Á, González-González I, Jiménez-Zarco AI, Chaparro-Peláez J. Applying social learning analytics to message boards in online distance learning: A case study. Comput Hum Behav. 2015;47:68-80. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.10.038. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.10.038   Google Scholar

Bedenlier S, Wunder I, Gläser-Zikuda M, et al. Generation invisible? Higher education students’ (non)use of webcams in synchronous online learning. Inter J Educ Res Open. 2021;2:100068. doi: 10.1016/j.ijedro.2021.100068. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedro.2021.100068   Google Scholar

Hartnett M. K. Hartnett MK. Influences that undermine learners’ perceptions of autonomy, competence and relatedness in an online context. Australasian J Educ Technol. 2015;31(1):86-99. doi: 10.14742/ajet.1526. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.1526   Google Scholar

Kim HJ, Hong AJ, Song HD. The roles of academic engagement and digital readiness in students’ achievements in university e-learning environments. Int J Educ Technol. 2019;16:21. doi: 10.1186/s41239-019-0152-3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-019-0152-3   Google Scholar




How to Cite

Lukács, A., Simon, N., Kiss-Kondás, D. ., Szabó, T. L., Bak, M. K., Bibro, M., Göz, B., Bicki, D., Akar, F. D., Sancaktar, S. İrem, Pehlivan, S., Gniewek, T., Golec, J., Jankowicz-Szymańska, A., Kiviluoma-Ylitalo, M., Kreska-Korus, A., Lillo-Crespo, M., Milert, A., Özkoca, G., Policnik, J., Terán, B. S., Smoła, E., Stefanowicz-Kocoł, A., Vähä-Jaakkolaa, J., Rodríguez, P. V., Wódka, K., Yilm, Özge M., & Yilmaz, D. (2023). Exploring the pros and cons of online courses for physiotherapists — a theoretical study. Health Promotion & Physical Activity, 24(3), 33–39. https://doi.org/10.55225/hppa.527



Review article

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>