It's the often-elusive “holy grail" of teaching - getting students engaged so that they not only learn more, but better retain the information they are absorbing. Plus, by utilizing strategies for engaging students in learning, you as the instructor make the learning process more enjoyable - for both the students and you. And nursing education is no different. This is why concept-based learning is taking nursing education by storm. This teaching method reduces content repetition and helps students acquire and apply the critical thinking and reasoning skills that will make them assets in the clinical field.
We put together five key strategies to better engage students in your nursing education classroom. Read on.
1. First & foremost: Grasp the purpose!
Everyone benefits from concept-based teaching and learning. Students learn by doing, resulting in a deeper, more holistic understanding of the content, and once they"re in the workforce, it's much easier to link content and practice. The faculty get an opportunity to watch students apply the knowledge they've learned in a safe environment, and quite honestly, it's a lot more fun for the teacher. Plus, employers are looking to hire graduates with training in common diseases they"re likely to encounter in clinical situations. Some of the key benefits of concept-based learning include:
- Helps students take a more active role in their learning using a “flipped classroom" model
- Streamlines content and eliminates content redundancies
- Enables faculty to teach clinical reasoning skills more easily
- Helps students apply concepts from one situation to another and make connections between those concepts
- Encourages students to see patterns across concepts and use those patterns to deliver care and anticipate risks
With healthcare and the information supporting it moving faster than ever, full-on textbook, content-based learning just doesn't make sense anymore. Teaching conceptually allows for the flexibility to add content when new information becomes available, and students can dive deep into course content rather than cruising through textbook chapters, retaining very little of the information they"re taking in. With that being said, it's still important for students to master the ‘traditional” skills like competency, knowledge, critical thinking, and leadership.
2. Create an engaging classroom environment
When utilizing concept-based learning as a teaching strategy to boost student engagement, your role as a teacher has to transform to be more of a participant-observer; work with your students. This may feel strange at first, but the ultimate goal is to make sure students learn to think like a nurse.