heartsandminds

explorations of a wanna-be difference-maker in nursing education and life in general

Progress Report on Final Project

Showcasing Innovation in Information and Communications

Technology (ICT) in Our  Nursing Program

Contemporary Learner-Centered Pedagogy

       Contemporary pedagogy, as defined by Brown, Kirkpatrick and Greer, (2006a), is learner centered, self-directed, and promotes action and engagement of the learner.  This is juxtaposed against traditional pedagogy, which is teacher-centered, and geared to covering and memorizing content (Brown et al, 2006a).   Better student knowledge and skill outcomes are associated with learner-centered concepts applied to higher education (Ironside, as cited in Greer, Pokorney, Clay, Brown, & Steele, 2010).  Learner-centered methods in nursing education improve critical thinking skills, collaboration and confidence, and foster attitudes of lifelong learning that effect practice (Ironside, as cited in Greer et al, 2010).

Learner-centeredness comprises four conceptual domains.  They are: “balance of power, shifted toward student; role of teacher, shifted from teller to designer; responsibility for learning, shifted toward the student; (and) purposes and processes of evaluation, shifted to better promote learning” (Weimer, as cited in Greer et. al, 2010, p. 1).

With this project, I want to both educate colleagues about the four domains and highlight exemplars of Information and Communication Technologies supporting contemporary learner-centered pedagogy.

To date, I’ve completed four short interviews with colleagues.  My list of questions is more or less the same for all:

1) What are you doing differently in your teaching practice?

2) What spurred the change?

3) What were the challenges and key learnings for you as an educator as you implemented new strategies involving technology?

4) Has the change in practice accomplished what you set out to do? OR… How do you perceive the change in your practice is impacting learning?

Below, I’ll briefly discuss each exemplar.

  1.  Motivation: desire to increase engagement of students in the clinical post-conference.  Innovation: an asynchronous online discussion forum with requirements for posting and responding to posts as opposed to the f2f format used since time immemorial in nursing education.  Key Learnings: Preliminary observations: shy students, slow-processors and students from cultures where it is admirable to listen rather than speak are finding their voice in the online discussion.  In fact, students who were construed as “lacking knowledge” are proving themselves knowledgeable and articulate in this format.
  2. Motivation: scheduling challenges in offering an inter-professional problem based learning experience incorporating four different allied health professional groups.  Innovation:  Wordpress as a platform to present an unfolding case to which students responded asynchronously to construct IP knowledge.  Key Learnings:  students’ perceptions of platform user-friendliness significantly impacts students’ engagement with and learning from the IP experience.  Students respond to the case but not so much to one another.  Generally, students have engaged less well in this format than f2f.  Faculty is still looking for “the right” platform; also believes that if students were introduced to this experience in Term One of Year One, they would develop confidence with the technology which would promote learning in future IP learning experiences.
  3. Motivation: desire to optimize learning in skills lab (students were generally not coming with readings done, but expecting to “be taught” as opposed to applying knowledge and practicing skills).  Innovation: two colleagues worked with the textbook publisher to set up 5 online learning modules and five compulsory pre-tests which must be completed before the related lab to earn a grade.  Key Learnings: this intervention increased work at the front end, but decreased work at the back end, as the textbook publisher provides test bank questions thus time is decreased in developing assessments.  Qualitative research is forthcoming on this intervention.
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