Evaluating Telesupervision as a Support for Clinical Learning: an Action Research Project


  • Lucy Chipchase University of Western Sydney
  • Anne Hill The University of Queensland
  • Ruth Dunwoodie The University of Queensland
  • Shelley Allen The University of Queensland
  • Yvonne Kane Department of Physiotherapy, Townsville Hospital, Townsville
  • Kristen Piper University of Western Sydney
  • Trevor Russell The University of Queensland


Telesupervision is a process whereby distant supervision is provided using electronic information and communication technologies. This study aimed to investigate whether telesupervision can be used as an effective method of supervision to complement traditional face-to-face clinical supervision in physiotherapy, speech pathology and occupational therapy education.
Three action research cycles were undertaken between July 2010 and December 2012 in Queensland, Australia. A shared supervisory model was employed whereby telesupervision was used as an adjunct to face-to-face supervision in a variety of clinical contexts. Phase 1 was undertaken as a metropolitan pilot while Phase 2 was conducted in a regional city and Phase 3 in a geographically isolated rural town. Participants included 30 students from entry-level programmes in Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology and five remote clinical educators (CE), and five on-site CEs. Evaluation consisted of clinical educator and researcher observations, a student satisfaction survey and a student learning survey. In later phases, data were collected from individual semi-structured interviews with students, remote and on-site CEs.
Results demonstrate that student learning is not compromised when telesupervision is used to complement face-to-face supervision. Further, when used with small educator to student ratios (1:4), students were satisfied with the process. Many of the benefits of the telesupervision experience appeared to be due to the shared supervisory model. Limitations were low bandwidth and unreliable connectivity that interrupted learning; however, cyclical problem solving by educators and students improved the telesupervision learning experience.

Author Biography

Lucy Chipchase, University of Western Sydney

Lucy Chipchase, University of Western Sydney, School of Science and Health, Campbelltown,
NSW, Australia




How to Cite

Chipchase, L., Hill, A., Dunwoodie, R., Allen, S., Kane, Y., Piper, K., & Russell, T. (2016). Evaluating Telesupervision as a Support for Clinical Learning: an Action Research Project. International Journal of Practice-Based Learning in Health and Social Care, 2(2), 40–53. Retrieved from https://publications.coventry.ac.uk/index.php/pblh/article/view/319