Concept Based Curricula: Faculty Learning Needs

Monday, 18 November 2013: 3:55 PM

Susan Sportsman, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN
Academic Consulting Group, Elsevier, Maryland Heights, MO

Learning Objective 1: Describe a survey to identify learning needs of nursing faculty teaching in a concept based curriculum and related implementation and evaluation strategies.

Learning Objective 2: Analyze approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of a concept based curriculum for students and faculty.

Content saturation in nursing curricula and the evidence of the advantages of student engagement in their learning has stimulated a new approach to teaching.  Numerous nursing programs are exploring the use of a concept based curriculum (CBC) as a tool for reducing duplication and facilitating students' progression through the educational process.  For example, as part of the Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Texas Team Action Coalition designed an optional state-wide concept based curriculum from the ADN through the BSN as a strategy to increase the number of RNs completed by the BSN degree.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Giddens (2012) suggests that by  understanding core concepts, a student can apply similarities and recurring characteristics.  However, she notes that teaching conceptually turns “traditional learning upside down”.   Many faculty members, planning to move to a conceptual approach fear they do not have the skills to teach in this model.  To address these concerns, the Texas Team APIN grant sent surveys to Texas nursing faculty in pre-licensure and RN to BSN programs to gauge the educational support needed.

This presentation reports on responses from 331 faculty regarding needed educational support and the resulting strategies to prepare Texas faculty for CBC implementation.  The objectives and content of state-wide webinars to prepare faculty and a standardized guideline for developing and implementing such a curriculum will be explored.  In addition, evaluation of interventions derived from the survey will be reported and further evaluation questions related to the development and implementation of a CBC will be proposed.  Although the use of a concept based curriculum is gaining popularity, there is limited evidence of the effectiveness of this approach.  This presentation begins the discussion to document its outcomes for faculty and students.