Many educators have students write goals or objectives to guide their learning experience. Students are often instructed to write objectives that are appropriate for the experience. Often objectives are either weak or unattainable. There is a paucity of research data on guidance or benefits of students having a framework to develop learning objectives for professional practice experiences (PPEs). Additionally, reflection has been shown to be important in the learning and reasoning process for both novice and expert clinicians.
The purpose of this study was to assess effectiveness of the author's designed process for students to follow which included reflection and allowing more realistic and meaningful objectives to have a deeper learning experience.
3-4 weeks prior to the professional practice experience, students were provided with a 9 question (step) process that allowed the student to reflect and think about what they wanted to obtain from the experience, what was needed to achieve and how they would assess if they met the objective. As a result they developed objectives that their clinical instructor (CI) could view and provide input on along with their faculty advisor. Students finalized the objectives during the second week of the PPE. At the completion of the experience, students were provided with a 6 question survey (3 Likert scale and 3 open ended). Survey participation was voluntary and the results were anonymous.
26 students (53% of the class) completed the survey and 85% found it helpful; 85% agreed that it caused them to reflect at a deeper level than developing objectives for other experiences; 73% agreed that it allowed them to engage in learning opportunities that they may not have had if they had not planned for them. The open ended questions revealed they liked the process as it allowed for more planning, reflection, growth as a student, confidence, assessing progress, and it directed the learning experience. What they didn’t like was centered more on the lack of clarity of the assignment, need for more faculty involvement for guidance, and that the process was time consuming. [By the time ELC 2016 occurs the presentation will have 2 classes of data - second class obtained at the end of April 2016]
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The Pursuit of Excellence in Physical Therapy Education
Conclusions: Students seemed to value a framework with reflection that allows them to develop learning objectives that are more meaningful and allowed for a more rich learning experience than without a framework. Assignment clarity and more faculty feedback is needed to optimize the experience for the student.
Relevance: Since students in the health professions are required to participate in professional practice educational experiences, providing them with a process to develop solid objectives should allow a deeper learning experience that optimizes opportunities. This is applicable to CIs/CCCEs by providing them with knowledge of a guided process can allow for improved integration of student objectives.
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