Contextual activity sampling : a method to develop clinical interprofessional education

Sammanfattning: Higher health care education in interprofessional settings is evaluated and developed continuously. The aim of clinical interprofessional education is to provide healthcare students opportunities to develop their professional roles, and understanding of other professions, as well as to develop their teamwork and communication skills. However, there is still a need to improve understanding of how students experience their learning. Most often, post-course questionnaires and interviews are used to investigate students’ experiences of their learning activities. When using such approaches the respondents generalize about their experiences in retrospect instead of reporting on learning as it occurs. The Contextual Activity Sampling System (CASS) is a methodology inspired by ideas from the Experience Sampling Method (ESM). CASS was designed to collect frequent data from the participants’ ongoing learning activities by using mobile phones, which was the main methodology used in this thesis. The overall aim of this thesis was to investigate the potential of contextual activity sampling as an approach for studying students’ experiences connected to learning activities during clinical interprofessional education. Eighty-one students from six interprofessional training ward courses conducted during 2009 agreed to participate. For each course, students from two teams of three were randomly assigned to be included in an intervention group (using CASS, n=54) and from one team in a control group (not using CASS, n=27). The students’ learning experiences in the intervention group were collected via CASS and, for both groups, via interviews after the conducted courses and also RIPLS questionnaires both before and after the conducted courses. Study I was a study aiming at investigating the usability of CASS as a methodology in a clinical interprofessional context. Study II focused on the students’ experiences of clinical learning and Study III on the students’ experiences of collaboration. Study IV investigated whether students using CASS experienced their learning activities in different ways compared to students not using CASS. In Study I it was shown that the translated and cross-culturally adapted Swedish version of CASS was usable in a clinical learning environment and that it helped students to structure their study days and reflect on their learning activities. Study II demonstrated that students reported optimal experiences (flow) when they were engaged in knowledge creation activities and collaborated with their fellow students. A significant correlation was identified between positive emotions and how important the activities were considered to be. Study III showed that CASS provided possibilities to identify the student teams’ need of support to attain the intended learning outcomes and highlighted the importance of structure, interaction and insight in clinical interprofessional collaboration. In Study IV differences between the intervention and control groups were noted. The students who had used CASS rated their experience of ‘teamwork and collaboration’ significantly higher after the course than before the course, which was not the case for the control group. On the other hand, students in the control group rated stress higher than those who had used CASS. In conclusion, this thesis showed that the CASS methodology is suitable for collecting contextual data in clinical settings and can help students to structure their days and reflect on their learning activities. When interprofessional collaboration was working well it was associated with knowledge creation and an increased feeling of ‘flow’. CASS is an innovative methodology, which can be useful for stimulating reflection on clinical learning activities and development of clinical interprofessional education.

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