Three model curricula for teaching clinicians to use the ICF

Disabil Rehabil. 2008;30(12-13):927-41. doi: 10.1080/09638280701800301.


Purpose: Three systematic programmes to train health professionals to use the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) are described, along with efforts to evaluate their effectiveness.

Methods: The first programme was a randomized study comparing the effects of a 2-hour instructor-led programme and a self-directed learning module on ICF-related knowledge, attitudes, and coding skills among occupational therapy graduate students. The second programme was a series of intensive 3.5-day workshops for public sector rehabilitation professionals in South Africa. The third programme involved a series of internet-based teaching modules regarding the ICF for graduate students in rehabilitation counselling.

Results: The first project found that both instructor-led and self-guided training formats were effective in improving basic ICF-related knowledge, but only instructor-led training led to a significant improvement in coding skill. It also had more positive effects on ICF-related attitudes. This approach to learning assessment was generalizable to multidisciplinary health professionals in South Africa, who achieved a relatively high degree of coding accuracy after the 3.5-day workshop. Participant evaluations supported the structure, content, and length of the training. Students in the third programme also reported a very positive learning experience and positive views of the ICF.

Conclusions: An empirical basis is important for identifying the best and most efficient training methods for particular audiences and specific purposes. The length and format of training can be differentially related to specific training goals (i.e., knowledge, attitudes, and coding skills). Interactive distance learning methods may help to overcome the weaknesses of self-directed training in comparison to face-to-face training.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Assisted Instruction
  • Counseling
  • Curriculum*
  • Disabled Persons / classification*
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation
  • Education, Continuing / methods*
  • Education, Distance
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases*
  • Occupational Therapy / education
  • Program Evaluation
  • South Africa
  • Teaching / methods
  • United States