Establishing Consensus for the Core Concepts of Physiology in the Australian Higher Education Context using the Delphi Method.

Kathy Tangalakis, Louise Lexis, Deanne H Hryciw, Michelle Towstoless, Anthony J Bakker, Elizabeth Beckett, Daniel Brown, Melissa Cameron, Julia Choate, Lisa Chopin, Matthew B Cooke, Tracy Douglas, Suzanne Estaphan, Sarah Etherington, Voula Gaganis, Andrew Moorhouse, Christian Moro, Tamara Paravicini, Ben Perry, Ruben PhillipsChristopher Scott, Gabrielle Todd, Tanya Uebergang, Glenn Wadley, Matthew Watt, Alan Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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A set of core concepts ('big ideas') integral to the discipline of Human Physiology is important for students to understand and in turn, demonstrate their capacity to apply. We found poor mapping of an existing set of core concepts against subject learning outcomes across physiology curricula in undergraduate degree programs throughout Australian universities. One plausible reason is that the existing set of core concepts do not resonate with Australian physiology educators. The objective of this project was to reach Australia-wide consensus on a set of core concepts for physiology, to be embedded in curricula across Australian universities. A four-phase Delphi protocol was employed, starting with the invitation and acceptance of Physiology educators with extensive teaching and curriculum development expertise, from 25 Australian universities, to form a Task Force. Following two online meetings and a survey, the Task Force reached agreement on 7 core concepts of physiology and their descriptors, which were then sent out to the physiology educator community across Australia. The 7 core concepts and their associated descriptions were endorsed through this process (n=138). In addition, embedding the core concepts across the curriculum was supported by both Task Force members (85.7%) and educators (82.1%). The 7 adopted core concepts of Physiology were: Cell Membrane, Cell-cell Communication, Movement of Substances, Structure and Function, Homeostasis, Integration and Physiological Adaptation. The core concepts were subsequently unpacked into themes and sub-themes and if adopted, will result in consistency across curricula in undergraduate Physiology programs and allow benchmarking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-426
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Issue number3
Early online date9 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


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