Tuesday, November 6, 2007

This presentation is part of : Nursing Education Learning and Assessment
Improving Student Outcomes: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning
Kathaleen C. Bloom, PhD, School of Nursing, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, USA
Learning Objective #1: discuss the advantages and disadvatages of self-directed learning.
Learning Objective #2: identify postive student outcomes associated with self-directed learning in an undergraduate health assessment course.

Changes in nursing education are not easy for either faculty or students. This is especially true when the change results in dissonance. This study examined the effects of a change in an undergraduate health assessment course from a standard lecture-lab format to a format using faculty-designed self-directed learning modules combined with faculty-facilitated laboratory practice sessions. The focus, then, shifted from an emphasis on "teaching" (faculty-focused) to one of "learning" (student-focused). The dissonance lies between faculty and student expectations of their respective roles in the teaching-learning process. Purpose: The purposes of this study were to: 1) examine student outcomes associated with the change, 2) examine student attitudes toward self-directed learning, and 3) examine advantages and disadvantages of the change from the faculty perspective. Method: This was a Level II design comparing quiz averages, final exam grades, practical (walk-through) performance and course evaluations from 8 cohorts taught in the new format (n=428) with those of the previous 8 cohorts taught in the traditional format (n=312). Focus groups with students and interviews with clinical faculty were also held. Results: Student outcomes were as good or better for those in the self-directed format. Initial differences in student course evaluations have again risen to their previous levels over time. Student discussions revealed positive and negative perceptions of self-directed learning. Clinical faculty are greatly satisfied with the outcomes and believe that clinical assessment skills and critical thinking are more advanced with students taught in the self-directed format. Conclusions: This self-directed, student-focused teaching-learning format had a positive effect on student outcomes in both the short and long-term. Initial negative effects on faculty and course evaluations turned around as faculty became more comfortable and competent with the self-directed modality and, perhaps more importantly, better at articulating the way the course operates.