Development of a Hybrid Course on Wheelchair Service Provision for clinicians in international contexts

Introduction

Wheelchair users worldwide are at high risk of developing secondary health conditions and premature death due to inappropriate wheelchair provision by untrained providers. The International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) has developed a Hybrid Course based on the World Health Organization’s Wheelchair Service Training Package—Basic Level. The Hybrid Course leverages online modules designed for low-bandwidth internet access that reduces the in-person training exposure from five to three and a half days, making it less expensive and more convenient for both trainees and trainers.

Methods

The Hybrid Course was designed using a systematic approach guided by an international group of stakeholders. The development followed the Quality Matters Higher Educational Rubric, web design guidelines for low bandwidth, experts’ opinions, and the best practices for blended course design. A quasi-experimental approach was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the Hybrid Course taken by six graduate students in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh by measuring pre- and post knowledge using the validated ISWP Wheelchair Service Provision—Basic Test. The outcome measure was assessed using a paired sample t-test between pretest and posttest scores. The quality of the Hybrid Course was evaluated by three external reviewers using the Quality Matters Higher Educational Rubric who were blind to each others’ evaluation and the results of the training intervention.

Results

Hybrid Course participants reported significant increases in scores on the ISWP Wheelchair Service Provision—Basic Test after participating in the training, with an average increase of 10.84±5.42, p = 0.004, Cohen’s d = 1.99. In addition, the Hybrid Course met the Quality Matters Standards in two out of three evaluations and reported a percentage of agreement between evaluators of 84%.

Conclusions

The Hybrid Course met quality standards and proved to be effective in increasing basic level wheelchair knowledge in a group of Rehabilitation Science graduate students.