Effectiveness of Worked Learning Problems to Improve Clinical Instructors' Skills When Working with Challenging Students
Purpose: Mentoring physical therapy students who are struggling in clinical learning environments can challenge even the best clinical instructors (CI). Currently available training for CIs may not provide adequate opportunity to practice working with the available resources. Research has shown that expert CIs use problem solving strategies to help their students learn in the clinical environment. As the number of students and time constraints on practitioners increase, it would be beneficial for all CIs to feel more competent and confident in their abilities to manage students with potential clinical learning challenges. The purpose of this study was to investigate if CIs working in small groups using 2 partially worked learning examples on managing students with challenges in clinical learning, increases the CIs' competence, confidence and ability to utilize resources to manage these learning situations. Methods/Description: Volunteers from the 7th Annual University of California/San Francisco State University & Samuel Merritt University Site Coordinator of Clinical Education (SCCE) & CI Appreciation Day Conference, March, 2016 completed 3, 10-minute electronic surveys: one prior to the session, one within 6 days after the learning session, and the final one 12 months after the learning session. During the class participants were divided into small groups according to their practice setting to work through the first student case. The entire group then engaged in a discussion allowing the smaller groups to present their solutions to each step of the problem. Next, the smaller groups completed a second case followed by a discussion involving the entire group. Results/Outcomes: Forty-nine out of eighty-five (58%) conference attendees responded to the first survey. Thirty-eight (45%) participants completed the second survey while twenty-four (28%) participants completed all three surveys. Results indicated that the confidence and competence levels of participants significantly increased from pre-course to post course survey when working with challenging students. A subset analysis of APTA credentialed instructors also indicated a statistically reliable increase in confidence and competence levels compared to non-APTA credentialed instructors while working with challenging students. These worked learning problems were most effective in the case of challenging students. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Providing mentoring to CIs in the form of additional educational support using worked problems with peer learning opportunities can increase their confidence and competence when working with challenging students. Data analysis indicates using partially worked leaning examples allows CIs to work through challenging student problems. These results demonstrate that a partially worked problem learning format was significantly effective in increasing SCCEs and CIs’ competence and confidence in working with challenging students. In addition, APTA Credentialed Instructors who participated in the study demonstrated statistically reliable higher levels of competence and confidence than non-APTA credentialed instructors.