The STAR Framework: A Transformative Learning Approach to Curriculum Development, Learning and Teaching

Wednesday, 1 August 2012: 3:50 PM

Margaret McAllister, EdD, MEd, RN
Faculty of Science, Health and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC QLD, Australia

Purpose: Transformative Learning (TL) practices use “forms of pedagogy that treat students as critical agents; make knowledge problematic; utilize critical and affirming dialogue; and make the case for struggling for a qualitatively better world for all people" (Giroux, 1988, p.127). Whilst TL fits the cause of nursing, and nursing education well, it is not always familiar to educators, especially those who have limited formal training. Therefore, faculty within a regional Queensland University devised a novel framework, STAR, that encapsulates important TL principles. The acronym STAR emphasises key transformative learning outcomes in students: to be Sensitised about pertinent issues, to Take Action, and to Reflect.  This presentation will explain the Action Research project that evaluated and extended the STAR framework so that it was applied across the undergraduate nursing curriculum.

Methods:  Using an action research methodology within a 3 cycle process, STAR was trialled and evaluated by an interdisciplinary team of health educators (N= 25) in an Australian university. Data were gathered via individual interviews, focus group discussions and field notes, and were analysed inductively, with member checking of emerging themes to ensure interpretive rigour.

Results: The results of this research suggest that STAR is easily understood by users, has relevance for nursing education, and holds promise in producing desired educational outcomes within and across health disciplines. Furthermore, this project could be considered as a model for fostering transformational learning in nursing education, research and practice.

Conclusion: The embedded philosophy inspires critical, creative and constructive health professional graduates – change agents for a healthier future.