Work Package 1 Curriculum Review

Work Package 1 is led by University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. Work Package 1 of the UPPScAle project consists of curriculum benchmarking of Bachelor Physiotherapy pain science curricula against international best practice (EFIC Pain Physiotherapy curriculum) to identify gaps in learning

Work Package 1 involves a two stage process.

  • Part 1: Needs analysis. A curriculum review process mapping partners current pain science curricula against international best practice (EFIC Pain Physiotherapy curriculum).
  • Part 2: Focus group with people living with pain, students and recent graduates and academic staff to explore topics that should be included in a curriculum, planned and facilitated by experts in Teaching and Learning.

Part 1: Mapping pain science education in Undergraduate Physiotherapy Programmes: The UPPScAle Project

A curriculum review process maps partners' current pain science curricula against international best practice for graduate physiotherapists (Core curriculum for the European Diploma in Pain Physiotherapy), facilitated by experts in curriculum design in University College Dublin.

A mapping matrix will be sent to the principal investigator in each partner site (Ireland, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, The Netherlands) to share with their programme colleagues to complete. Categories included:

  • Identifying the year of their programme where the content was taught,
  • The assessment format utilised (practical exam / OSCE / simulation, a written exam, multiple choice question paper, group presentations or clinical education placements), and
  • Whether the specific topic was fully or partially taught.

Part 2: Augmenting Physiotherapy pain science curricula: The UPPScAle Project

The objective of part 2 is to identify key topics and teaching approaches to augment pain science curricula in undergraduate physiotherapy programmes across five European universities.

A co-design hybrid focus group (FG) will be undertaken with academic physiotherapists and students from five universities across Europe (Ireland, The Netherlands, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania). Patient representatives from Chronic Pain Ireland (registered charity supporting people living with pain) also attended.

To inform the FG De Bono’s ‘6 Hats’ Theory will be utilised2. This theory identifies six distinct lines of human thought in problem solving. Each is called a ‘hat’ and assigned a colour: white (information and facts); yellow (benefits and positives); black (difficulties and dangers); red (feelings, intuition); green (new ideas and possibilities); blue (thinking processes). Mixed groups (academics, students and patients) will independently discuss two specific ‘hat’ themes (20 minutes each), after which participants will come together to give feedback.

Incorporating the patient and students voice in the curriculum is essential and easily facilitated using co-design FGs. Key themes will be further discussed and incorporated into the partners curriculum to enhance pain science education in physiotherapy programmes.


  • Core curriculum for the European Diploma in Pain Physiotherapy
  • De Bono, E. (1985). Six Thinking Hats. London: Penguin Books.

Work Package 2: Train-the-Trainer Pain Schools: Augmenting knowledge and skills through evidence-based professional practices

Work Package 2 is led by Univerza V Ljubljani (UL), Slovenia. Work Package 2 consists of creating a comprehensive pain science curriculum that is delivered at the Teach-the-Teacher Pain Schools to address limitations in knowledge in certain topics / areas within the enhanced curriculum that were identified in WP1.

These topic areas and training needs will be reviewed, categorised and mapped to one of the two Train-the-Trainer Pain School programmes. Where relevant, specific topics will be introduced in the first 'Train-the-Trainer’ Pain School and revisited / explored more deeply in the advanced 'Train-the-Trainer’ Pain School. Based on the programmes content an international panel of experts will be invited to deliver specific aspects of the programmes and collaborate with Stichting Hogeschool Utrecht and University of Craiova (UCV) to develop innovative and evidence-based schedules for the two training programmes.

To accompany the Train-the-Trainer Pain Schools a manual will be developed. This manual contains reference material (lecture objectives, scientific literature, best practice guidelines, key relevant references and website addresses etc) deemed relevant to the particular topics. A short assessment piece allows participants to self-test their knowledge after the lecture. This resource will be widely available allowing for a much greater reach, with all the UPPScAle partners in a position to act as national resources for other HEIs having completed the two 'Teach-the-Teacher’ Pain Schools and contributed to the development of the manual.

This manual aims to support academic staff in augmenting their pain science knowledge using pedagogical approaches that will enrich their teaching and learning activities using innovative, student-centred pedagogical approaches. The manual will be translated into partners native language.

Materials, recorded lecturers, the manual and reflective diary will be uploaded to the Open Education Resource (OER).

Work Package 3: Enhancing and standardising Teaching and learning methodology based on dynamic Open Education Resource

Work Package 3 is led by Universitatea Din Craiova, Romania. An open access database, or Open Education Resource, will hold the materials developed for and during the Pain Schools Outputs, that can be accessed by partners and relevant stakeholders. This resource will address identified limitations to support academics.

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