CAL design for Reflective Practice supporting multiple learning styles for education and training in pre-hospital emergency care (PHEC).

Indra Jones and John Cookson

University of Hertfordshire

Reflective Practice (RP) is an approach to learning from experience through conscious review, analysis and integration of thought and action (Schon,1983,1987). It is a method to assist the student to learn from experience using a carefully structured framework. This thoughtful, conscientious review of practice has been shown to result in new learning and improved practice. In PHEC application of RP is seen as essential for clinical effectiveness and continuing professional development.

Evidence from Canada (Campeau 1998) indicates that while PHEC work would be expected to attract convergers in fact the data did not support that expectation. No particular learning style was dominant.

The teaching process for RP normally uses informal dialogue between teacher/facilitators and students based largely on the presentation of scenarios and case studies with a wide ranging, but focused dialogue and discussion. The design problem is to provide computer/student interaction which achieves the same learning outcomes as the taught work.

A popular method to develop RP skills involves the use of learning cycles (e.g. Gibbs 1988) presented in diagrammatic form. Detailed examination of existing formalisms identified significant deficiencies in particular they make no provision for the wide range of learning styles encompassed by PHEC students. Resulting from the CAL design process we have devised a new formalism, FFAR (Flexible Framework for Active Reflection). The framework has been designed to present a comprehensive set of options for the students irrespective of their predominant learning style to consider, identify and pursue. The objective of this is to develop all students as competent reflective practitioners. The CAL system presents multiple scenarios and cases based on real-life situations and incidents which require the student to exercise different learning styles. The students are prompted to respond, given feedback and their responses are embedded in the FFAR framework. They can thus see how a deeper and more comprehensive reflection on their practice is possible. To communicate RP as a dynamic process colour, animated text and geometric objects are used to focus the student's attention on components of the framework under active examination.

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