How to design and set an effective Work Based Learning?
This is a step-by-step guide for the design of an effective Work Based Learning when localizing the EU FCN Curriculum.
It envisages 4 main steps:
- State the general aims
- Design the WBL experience
- Train teachers for WBL
- Set Technology-Enhanced WBL
STEP 1: STATE GENERAL AIMSIf you are offering Family and Community Nurses’ courses, we strongly advise you to incorporate “Work Based Learning” (WBL) to your educational strategies in order to target all of the identified core competences and learning outcomes.
During an FCN curriculum nursing students must practice in Public and Private Community Health Centers and Primary Health Organizations in order to:
- apply the theoretical knowledge acquired during their basic education in order to provide comprehensive and personalized health care and implement nursing interventions for the healthy and sick individuals, families and communities to meet all needs in physical, mental and social level;
- be familiar with the use of new technologies, medical instruments, equipment, devices, and therapeutic pharmaceutical schemes;
- develop communicational and interpersonal skills that are very essential for the effective and qualitative nursing practice;
- acquire real-time competencies about administration, organization and operation of a nursing unit in a Primary Health Care Organization;
- get advanced knowledge about modern methods of productive procedures.
STEP 2: DESIGN THE WORK BASED LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Moreover, here we provide you with some easy tips to be put into practice in specific situations:
In the case of currently employed graduate nurses, most likely they will need to obtain consent from their employer that part of the work-based learning components of the FCN program takes place at the employer’s site.
When setting up the WBL, check that appropriate arrangements have been made to cover course participants in terms of their potential relevant social security entitlements or other insurance issues (covering occupational accidents, accidents and damages caused to third parties, occupational diseases and health insurance) that may concern them in particular in the context of their work-based learning placements. The requirements may also differ depending on the graduate nurses’ current occupational status e.g. student, independent/self-employed, employed, unoccupied (on leave, unemployed etc).
Ensure procedures are in place to ensure adherence to relevant EU or national regulations concerning the protection of personal data. In addition, the graduate nurses enrolled in the course may need to comply with the applicable rules to respect patient privacy (while delivering community-based care) and other confidentiality issues that may emerge during their course participation and in particular during their work-based learning. More generally, aspects dealing with legal, ethical and confidentiality issues linked to the provision of community or home care, might therefore need to be adequately addressed and integrated as learning modules in the theory part of the course.
Regardless of local differences and rules, we strongly advise you to choose your WBL settings carefully to enable effective WBL. Therefore, the following criteria must be taken into account:
- make sure that a learning culture is established in the work place setting;
- make sure that the work place setting is equipped with skilled facilitations to support the staff for giving critical reflections and enforcing positive changes in the students learning experience;
- make sure that the learning environment is supportive with a supportive atmosphere;
- make sure that the WBL provides opportunities for informal interprofessional learning afforded by the workplace.
Although the WBL setting is very important and has a lot of power to make the WBL an effective experience, it would not result in its highest potential if a proper mentor is not dedicated for the students. To this end:
- make sure that the WBL tutor allows students to take control of their own learning;
- make sure that WBL tutor empowers students to make changes in their practice learning experience;
- make sure that the instructor is sufficiently qualified;
- make sure that the mentor encourages students for informal interprofessional learning at their WBL experience.
STEP 3: TRAIN TEACHERS FOR WBL
In order to offer a high quality WBL educational strategy in your courses for Family and Community Nurses, you need to make sure that the candidate teachers or trainers are able to deliver the expected results. To secure the optimal results, you are advised to imply a training session for your teachers/trainers focusing on the following aspects:
- What competences/learning outcomes can meaningfully be addressed by WBL?
- Which kind of WBL experiences exist? Which of them better fit the addressed competences/learning outcomes?
- How to effectively design the chosen WBL experience? What are the components to be considered? (WBL form, duration, student’s independent study, assessment, feedback)
- How to effectively support the student during the WBL and how orchestrate the learning environment?
- How to monitor and evaluate the learning process and how to assess students during and at the end of the WBL?
STEP 4: SET TECHNOLOGY ENHANCED (TE) WBL
This approach allows us to integrate academic learning with practice learning and optimize the results.
- e-portfolio: this feature allows the teacher to have an on line a collection of electronic evidences (students' works) that let her evaluate student portfolios via Internet. E-portfolios, like traditional portfolios, can facilitate students' reflection on their own learning, leading to more awareness of learning strategies and needs
- Functionalities that support resource sharing (database): this, for example, allow the teacher sharing contributions for the literature review
- Wikis or forums to allow asynchronous tutoring and peer-tutoring practices
- Instant messaging apps for synchronous tutoring