E-learning training in communication skills in physical therapy students

quasi-experimental study


  • Leonor Almeida Santos Universidade Fernando Pessoa, Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde, Porto, Portugal | Instituto Politécnico do Porto, Escola Superior de Saúde, Clínica Pedagógica, Porto, Portugal. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5695-3666
  • Rute Meneses Universidade Fernando Pessoa, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais | Clínica Pedagógica, I3ID – Instituto de Investigação, Inovação e Desenvolvimento, Porto, Portugal https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7189-3139
  • Germano Couto Universidade Fernando Pessoa, Escola Superior de Saúde Fernando Pessoa | Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde, I3ID – Instituto de Investigação, Inovação e Desenvolvimento, Porto, Portugal |CINTESIS - Centro de Investigação em Tecnologias e Serviços de Saúde, Porto, Portugal. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5423-7375
  • Cristina Costa Santos Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Medicina, Departamento de Medicina da Comunidade, Informação e Decisão em Saúde, Porto, Portugal | CINTESIS - Centro de Investigação em Tecnologias e Serviços de Saúde, Porto, Portugal. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7109-1101




health communication, physical therapy, higher education, patient-centered care, empathy


Introduction: The therapeutic process requires from the physiotherapist skills beyond those of technical mastery. Health communication skills, proven to be in continuous development since the initial stage of training, determine the importance of their pre-graduate teaching.

Objetive: To evaluate the effectiveness of a health communication skills training program for physical therapy students.

Methods: Quasi-experimental study. Thirty-four physiotherapy students from Escola Superior de Saúde- Fernando Pessoa participated. Application of the scales Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) and Patient-Practioner Orientation Scale (PPOS) pre and post intervention; e-learning training, structured in eight modules in asynchronous and synchronous sessions, a total of 16 hours.

Results: There was a statistically significant increase in the Sharing component of the PPOS in female participants. There was a decrease in the total IRI, with an increase in cognitive empathy and affective empathy, as well as an increase in the total PPOS and in both subscales (Sharing and Caring), although without statistical significance. The use of the Moodle® platform was considered "very easy" by 79% of the participants and 50% considered that the online format "totally" facilitated learning.

Conclusion: The search for alternatives to avoid the decrease of empathic communication is urgent. The difficulty of the practical components suggests that a mixed model, in b-learning format, may be an option to e-learning in the teaching of clinical/health communication skills in physiotherapy students.


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How to Cite

Almeida Santos, L., Meneses, R., Couto, G., & Costa Santos, C. (2022). E-learning training in communication skills in physical therapy students: quasi-experimental study . Millenium - Journal of Education, Technologies, and Health, 2(10e), 111–121. https://doi.org/10.29352/mill0210e.26913



Life and Healthcare Sciences