Barkley (2010) stated in her Tips and Strategies for Fostering Motivation on page 81, to:” (e)xpect students in your course to be engaged in learning, and resist settling for anything less.”
One of the ways to do this is through the ‘integrat(ion) of goals, activities and assessments” (Barkley, 2010, p 87). When learning activities and assessments work in concert to achieve key learning goals that are meaningful to the student, he will be motivated to learn (Barkley, 2010).
As a RN working in an acute site setting, I am expected to listen and watch powerpoint presentations online that address work related issues like medication safety and administration, patient safety and numerous other topics deemed vital for the safe functioning of the unit. While the powerpoint presentations are comprehensive and thorough, I must confess to zoning out after a few minutes. I quickly become the poster child for the not engaged student. Let’s take a look at why.
While I highly value the goal of patient safety, which is the intention of the videos, I dread these non-interactive learning activities and the perfunctory tests at the end of each lesson. If I feel this way, I am sure I am not alone. What else can be done to increase engagement and enhance the learning experience?
One of the ways could be to include more interactive learning like formative assessment quizzes. Suzanne’s presentation on The Formative Quiz Technique Digital Project gives a great overview of this technique.
Another way would be to allow for more a more self directed learning approach for students. Perhaps clinical educators could create a blog and have staff post forum discussions on how to promote medication and patient safety on their unit. To ensure the key topics are covered, the clinical educators could have guest contributors post comments and resources. Proof of annual competencies could be achieved through education days where staff can display posters (SET 20, Barkley, 2010), Role play (SET 19,Barkley, 2010) as well as through the judicious use of quizzes.
As I see it, engaged, self-directed staff will promote and develop a culture of safety on the acute site unit. The challenge may come in changing to responsibility of learning back to the frontline workers instead of from management down.
Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student Engagement Techniques – A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.