Collaboratively designing a module with students as co-researchers

Crausaz, Janice, Chard, Gill and Savage, Eileen (2011) Collaboratively designing a module with students as co-researchers. [Conference Proceedings]


Engaging in evidence-based practice (EBP) is viewed as an integral part of a healthcare professional's obligations, an essential element of best practice. Many studies, however, have demonstrated how challenging it is for practitioners to integrate recent and best evidence into their professional decision-making for it may require changing customary practices. Passive educational approaches to the acquisition of EBP skills have proved generally ineffective in changing practitioner's behaviour (McClusky&Lovarini, 2005). A research partnership between a lecturer and qualified occupational, speech and physiotherapists aimed to collaboratively develop learner-centred approaches which would facilitate embedding EBP behaviour into clinical practice. Following a participatory action research (PAR) methodology, clinicians enrolled in a post-qualification MSc module on EBP and, together with the module leader, monitored and adapted the learning programme. Over four months, the students engaged in the PAR iterative cycles of reflecting? planning? acting?observing? reflecting. In their role as co-researchers, the students drew upon their expertise as experienced learners and clinicians for insights and advice about module design. Using the nominal group discussion method at the end of each class, students chose by majority vote what additional EBP content and which teaching and learning processes they wished to see integrated into the next session. As the classroom became a more democratic and active learning environment, the students took greater ownership of their co-constructed EBP knowledge and skills. As participant researchers, the students were able to make demonstrable changes that were meaningful to them. Through shaping the module design, they produced knowledge directly useful to themselves as practitioners, and to future module students, in the application of EBP. McClusky, A. &Lovarni, M. 2005. Providing education on evidence-based practice improved knowledge but did not change behaviour: A before and after study. BMC Med Ed, 5:40.

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