Physiotherapy clinical students’ perception of their learning environment: A Nigerian perspective

Adesola C Odole, Nse A Odunaiya, Olufemi O Oyewole, Oluwasolape T Ogunmola


Background. A favourable environment has a positive and significant impact on students’ learning, academic progress and well-being. The present study was undertaken to identify the perceptions of physiotherapy students in their clinical years of their learning environment at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Methods. A focus group discussion involving 12 undergraduate physiotherapy students was used to obtain information about their perception of their learning environment. Six students from two clinical levels of study were recruited through a simple random sampling technique. The focus interview guide was developed based on information obtained from the DREEM questionnaire and literature review. The interviews were analysed using the identified themes from DREEM and grounded theory for emerging subcategories.

Results. Five descriptive themes and several subcategories were identified: (i) context of learning (course objectives, student focused/teacher centred, active learning); (ii) context of teachers (knowledgeable teachers, provision of formative assessment, approachable lecturers, cordial teacher-student relationship); (iii) context of students’ perception of their academic skills (understanding the subject); (iv) context of atmosphere (adequacy of facilities, e.g. chairs, classrooms, library, books); and (v) context of social life (religious activities, social functions, school-related social activities).

Conclusion. Most students perceived their learning environment as good, especially with regard to student-teacher relationships. Some of the teachers were described as knowledgeable, and as providing formative assessment. However, students perceived their learning as being teacher centred. To facilitate an excellent learning environment, particular attention needs to be paid to availability of physiotherapy textbooks in the college library, sufficient appropriate furniture in classrooms, and provision of a functioning departmental library. The findings from this study may provide insights for teachers who wish to enhance the effectiveness of their teaching and of their students’ learning.


Authors' affiliations

Adesola C Odole, Physiotherapy Department, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria; School of Research and Postgraduate Studies, Faculty of Agriculture, Science and Technology, North West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa

Nse A Odunaiya, Physiotherapy Department, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Olufemi O Oyewole, Physiotherapy Department, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Nigeria

Oluwasolape T Ogunmola, Physiotherapy Department, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

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Education environment; Physiotherapy; Clinical students; Students’ perception; Qualitative study

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2014;6(1):64-68. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.248

Article History

Date submitted: 2013-02-09
Date published: 2014-03-04

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