Using learning groups to integrate learning over time

O’Sullivan, Patricia and Mangan, Anne (2011) Using learning groups to integrate learning over time. [Conference Proceedings]


Integrating the knowledge and skills developed throughout the curriculum with personal and clinical experiences are facilitated through the use of problem-based learning (PBL) groups and peer-group supervision (PGS).To successfully participate in a learning group, the learner must develop an understanding of group needs and develop an awareness of his/her role within the group. Skills of questioning and feedback are regarded as essential pre-requisites and are developed early in the programme. As the programme progresses, learners are exposed to PBL groups and PGS.A modified form of PBL is used to challenge students to learn to learn, and integrate knowledge within their groups to seek solutions to real-world problems. This strategy prepares learners to think critically and analytically, to find and use learning resources, negotiate outcomes and manage conflict. Initial emphasis is on making simple connections among ideas, new knowledge and first level clinical experiences and moving onto synthesizing and transferring learning to new more complex situations within the clinical setting during the final year. Initially problems are well defined and structured for the learner that is new to the discipline. This progresses to less defined problems where the students must integrate knowledge and skills from various resources.PGS differs from the PBL groups in that the focus is on applying the reflective cycle for the purpose of learning more effectively from experience. In year 1 this is facilitated by the tutors. Year 2 sees the learner begin to take on the role of facilitator but with support. In year 3 this role develops further where learners have an opportunity to facilitate other learners. For summative assessment purposes there is triangulation through tutor, self and peer-assessment.The use of learning groups assists learners in developing profession skills they will use both in practice and for their own professional development after graduating.

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NAIRTL 4th Annual Conference (Cork) 2010 Flexible Learning Conference Proceedings_sm.pdf

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