The perceptions of newly certified athletic trainers regarding transfer of learning into the workplace
Radtke, Sarah Lynn
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Athletic training students learn in a variety of contexts during their formal education. These contexts include didactic classrooms and clinical education. In addition, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) has implemented a learning over time model to facilitate the development of athletic training students throughout their education within these different contexts. Transfer of learning is the ability to utilize one's previous knowledge and skills in a variety of relevant situations. Individuals must be able to transfer the knowledge and skills obtained in their formal education into the work setting for successful professional practice. Little is known about the phenomenon of how athletic training students transfer their knowledge and skills from higher education to the workplace. In addition, little is known about how self-directed learning can facilitate transfer of learning into the work setting for recently certified athletic trainers. The purpose of this study is to explore factors that influence the phenomenon of transfer of learning from higher education to the real-world practice among recently certified athletic trainers. Fifteen recently certified athletic trainers, certified approximately one year or less and working at a physical therapy clinical and possibly outreach setting, were interviewed for this study. Based on a constant comparison analysis, three themes emerged from the study. First, factors enabling or inhibiting transfer of learning were identified. These included preparedness, knowledge and skill deficiencies, exposure to a wide array of clinical education experiences, development of communication skills, and professional confidence, or self-efficacy. Learning over time is a second theme that emerged from the data, with sub-themes including knowledge acquisition, knowledge application, and continuous, lifelong learning. Finally, self-directed learning characteristics and strategies that participants utilized to facilitate transfer of learning both during their education and in their current work setting emerged. The current study describes the phenomenon of transfer of learning through the depiction of learning over time in athletic training education and in the work setting, the enablers and barriers to transfer of learning within this learning over time model, and the self-directed learning characteristics that recently certified athletic trainers possess that facilitate transfer of learning.