Sunday, April 27, 2008

Week 3 -6 !! I'm in catchup mode

Wk 3: March 17-March 30:
Why we need flexible learning?
Do we need more flexible learning, or is all this choice a bad idea?

Absolutely, i think that any initiatives that improve access to education and knowledge must be good. Reading through some of the articles'comments from Leigh's postings around the topic if found myself reconsidering the historical approaches which have been utilised to deliver the nursing education in NZ. The apprenticeship model which was utilised up until the late 1980's was one which relied heavily on the participatory models of learning ie: learning on the job, hands on. Indispersed was the theory knowledge which underpinned the practical experiences which nurses were having.

The transition to the Tertiary sector in the late 80's saw the focus change to being a more structured approach ensuring that students had the opportunity to gain theory knoweldge and skill acquisition (via simulated clinical clajavascript:void(0)ssrooms) before entering the clinical environment. In many ways this transition did provide more flexibility in learning but much of this flexibility was limited (and is still is to a greater or lesser extent) by the educator's knoweldge and experience with the core business of educating. Many nurse educators whilst having expert practice knowledge may not always posses the knowledge skills and qualifications to be an effective teacher/educator. there is vigorous debate amongst our profession about the how nurses should be educated = some of these discussions appear on the NETS site (Nurse Executives in the Tertiary Sector) and provide a wider context to the influences that impact on educators like myself who are working within this sector.

Back to the topic.
why do we need flexible learning? Increasing the ability for undergraduate and post graduate nurses to complete course work at a pace/time to suit their lifestyles would support this approach. 94% of the nursing workforce in NZ are female. Median age is 40-45yrs. Many of these will have family /home comittments that mean that participating edcuation in the 'tradtional' 9-5pm monday to friday option would not be a desirable option Some recent statistics give some more details
offering studnets the opportunity to participate in a range of flexible learning option would be advantageous for them.

Just some thoughts....

1 comment:

Bronwyn hegarty said...

good to see you in action Mereana. I have recently been thinking about the apprenticeship model of nursing myself.
I have just posted this summary on the course blog. "Raewyn's post last week - Flexible learning today and in the future ( - really triggered my thoughts about apprenticeship models of learning. You might like to take a look at the post and my comments. I think apprenticeship is a grand way to learn, as long as there is sufficient supervision and theoretical underpinning to support people's learning."

As you say it is a compromise and a fine balancing act between clinical and educator experience.

Good to see the statistics about nurses which backup your discussion about the need for flexibility. However, some of the nursing and midwifery students last year were not happy about online learning because they had organised childcare between the hours of 9-3 so they could come on campus - they said they felt "cheated". They had expected more lecture time not study time.

I am not sure why they were displeased - nothing like some quiet time in the library or computer lab while the kids play happily with other kids, looked after by others. :)