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2024 Disruptive Innovation in Physical Therapist Education Virtual Summit:

The Physical Therapy Learning Institute is proud to host the

“Challenging Our Assumptions About Teaching and Learning: Creating Cultures of Excellence in Education and Practice"

on April 19-20, 2024


Sponsored by:

Summit Description:
For many years, our profession has valued the need for evidence-based physical therapy practice. We look to the scientific literature to develop our curricula, inform clinical practice, and create our research agendas. In contrast, academic and clinical teaching practices are too often based on assumptions about teaching and learning and often faculty new to teaching are ill-prepared to function in teaching and learning environments. Rarely do we ask – “What evidence do we have to support our choice of teaching and learning activities, assessment strategies, and instructional delivery?” Or “How are we coaching and mentoring academic and clinical faculty regarding the knowledge, skills, and behaviors related to teaching, learning, and assessment?” We need to take learning seriously, as teaching is far more than transmitting knowledge or clinical skills. Continuous learning across the learner continuum is imperative given rapidly complex and challenging clinical settings.

Dr. Lee Shulman, Past President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, is fond of saying – “One of the most powerful motivations for change is looking in the mirror.” (Shulman, p. 41; 2008). In their text Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, Brown,

Roedinger and McDaniel (2014) write:

Much of how we structure training and schooling is based on learning theories that have been handed down to us, and these are shaped by our own sense of what works, a sensibility drawn from our personal experiences as teachers, coaches, students, and mere humans at large on earth. How we teach and study is largely a mix of theory, lore, and intuition. But over the last forty years and more, cognitive psychologists have been working to build a body of evidence to clarify what works and to discover the strategies that get results.

The purpose of the 2024 Disruptive Innovation Summit is to look in the mirror and challenge our assumptions about teaching and learning by turning to research from the learning sciences. We raise critical questions regarding best practices for teaching and learning and the preparation for academic and clinical faculty.


  • What evidence-based teaching and learning strategies can translate to improved student learning outcomes?

  • What mentoring strategies foster clinical competence across the continuum of entry-level to advanced practice?

  • What are the core competencies needed for academic and clinical teaching?

  • What faculty preparation is needed for teaching and assessing diverse student bodies?

  • What are best practices in faculty and staff development and coaching?

  • What are effective approaches to mentoring for early and mid-career faculty?

  • What strategies are meaningful for the assessment of student learning in preparation for entry-level practices?

This summit seeks to provoke discussion and advancement on faculty needs for effective educational delivery, assessment, skill development, and growth. We hope to take that look in the mirror and stimulate discussion, provide insight, and identify the ongoing need for future development. 

Keynote Presentation:

Maria Mylopoulos, PhD

Nicole Woods, PhD

Designing for Failure: An instructional Approach for Future Success

Presented by: Dr. Maria Mylopoulos and Dr. Nicole Woods

It has become increasingly apparent that healthcare is characterized by a great degree of novelty, ambiguity, and complexity. Traditional approaches to education that emphasize the acquisition and assessment of isolated knowledge and skills as the gold standard do not prepare learners to adapt, innovate, and continue to learn throughout their careers. Productive failure is an instructional intervention that has been shown to prepare students across the continuum of education for future learning. In this talk, Drs. Woods and Mylopoulos will define productive failure, describe research on how productive failure supports the development of adaptive expertise, and introduce the pedagogical implications of this work.

Summit Format:
This virtual, online summit will occur April 19-20, 2024 (see detailed agenda below). Attendance is limited to 200 invited attendees representing a wide variety of stakeholders in physical therapist education including educators from entry-level education programs, clinical educators, and educators from residency/fellowship programs . Over the course of the summit, there will be a keynote address and three sessions which will include a presentation followed by small group and general conversation around the application of the theme of the Summit across the continuum of physical therapist education (i.e.,entry-level/didactic education, clinical education, and residency/fellowship/continuing professional development). This will be followed by a general summary session to create action plans for innovation in our own environments.

Platform Presentations: SUBMISSIONS CLOSED
All attendees were encouraged to submit a short video presentation that is related to one of the three conference topics:

  • Topic 1: Application of the Learning Sciences to PT Education

  • Topic 2: Faculty Preparation/Development

  • Topic 3: Assessment Practices


The presentations could have been be related to attendee research (published or ongoing) or innovative practices around one of these topics, or they represented their thoughts on a topic before the conference dialogue begins. This was an opportunity for you to “have the floor” and to share data, evidence, thoughts, perspectives, or initiatives. The recordings will not be shared beyond the Forum attendees without their consent. We believe this will foster deeper conversation and expose participants to a broad cross-section of valued opinions, informing a more robust live discussion. All registered participants will have an opportunity to view the recordings before the conference begins.  Attendees, to acces the platform presentations, watch your email for links.

The details:

  • These presentations are not be peer-reviewed.

  • The presentations must be no more than 6 minutes in length.

  • The conference organizers previewed presentations to confirm that they meet all requirements related to conference relevance

  • Submissions are eligible for recognition by PTLI. There will be a maximum of one “Innovator Award” and one “Influencer Award” in each of the three topic categories.

Summit Logo 2024.jpg

Summit Agenda:

The entire Summit (all portions) will be recorded and posted to PTLI Website after the event.

Friday, April 19, 2024 (all times were Eastern Time Zone):


Welcome from previous PTLI President, Barbara Tschoepe; Summit Overview & Ground Rules (Karen Abraham); Introduction of Keynote Speaker (Karen Abraham)



Open Forum/Q&A with Keynote Speakers


Preview of Saturday’s Agenda/Format (Summit Planning Committee)

Saturday, April 20, 2024 (all times were Eastern Time Zone):

To learn more about the speakers, click on their name below:


Topic 1: Application of the Learning Sciences to PT Education

Evidence-based instruction refers to teaching practices based on learning science research. This session provides a brief synopsis of learning science research, as well as the challenges created by commonly used teaching practices in PT education and practice. Lastly, we challenge the academic and clinical community to embrace learning science research to improve student and physical therapy outcomes.

Speakers/Group Disc:




Topic 2: Faculty Preparation/Development

Many faculty received little to no pedagogical training on best practices for teaching and learning.  Are there core competencies for academic and clinical teaching and if not, should they be developed?  And who should develop these? How do we ensure that these competencies address the needs of diverse learners?  What are the best practices for faculty and staff development and coaching? How should we instill mentoring for early and mid-career faculty?

Speakers/Group Disc:




Topic 3: Assessment Practices

Assessment is essential for improving student learning and program effectiveness and should be an ongoing process that involves all stakeholders, including faculty, students, administrators, and accrediting bodies. Faculty may have negative perceptions of assessment, such as fear or apathy, but these can be overcome through communication, education, and support. This session connects assessment to the values of the program and institution to help academic and clinical faculty see its importance in creating a culture of continuous improvement.

Speakers/Group Disc:




Group Comments, Reflection, Closing Remarks, and Program Evaluation

Overall commentary, participant reflection, conference themes, calls to action, take-home points.


Recommended Summit Reading

Participants were encouraged to read or review the following articles prior to the Summit. The articles below can be reviewed in this Google Folder.

  1. Mylopoulos M, Brydges R,  Woods N, Manzone J,  and Schwartz D.  Preparation for future learning: a missing competency in health professions education? Medical Education 2016: 50: 115–123.

  2. Mylopoulos M, Kulasegaram K, and Woods N.  Developing the experts we need: Fostering adaptive expertise through education.  J Eval Clin Pract. 2018;24:674–677.

  3. Myolopoulos M and Woods N.  Why I say…. adaptive expertise.  Medical Education 2017: 51: 685–686.
  4. Santen S, Hemphill R, Pusic M, Cico S, Wolff M, Merritt C.  Our responsibility to patients: Maintain competency or ... stop practicing.  AEM Educ Train. 2023;7:e10916.DOI:

  5. Sawatsky A, Rea J, Hafdahl L, Vaa Stelling B, Wingo M, and Leasure E.  From Apprenticeship to Assembly Line: Recovering Relationships in Medical Education.  Journal of Graduate Medical Education, December 2023. DOI:

  6. Steenhof N, Woods N, Mylopoulos M.  Exploring why we learn from productive failure: insights from the cognitive and learning sciences. Advances in Health Sciences Education (2020) 25:1099–1106.

  7. Sotto-Santiago S, Poll-Hunter N, Trice T, Buenconsejo-Lum L, Golden S, Howell J, Jacobs N, Lee W, Mason H, Ogunyemi D, Crespo W, Lamba S.  A Framework for Developing Antiracist Medical Educators and Practitioner–Scholars.  Academic Medicine, Vol. 97, No. 1 / January 2022.

Please contact Summit Organizers Karen Abraham at

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