Numerous theories have been proposed to explain what happens when a person moves from a state of not knowing, or not being able to do something, to that of knowing or being able. Experiential learning theory has particular applicability to learning in the workplace. One theory that continues to be widely used within the context of workplace education is Kolb’s theory of experiential learning. Briefly, this theory highlights that:
An important influence on the process of learning is the atmosphere, or climate, of the environment in which the learning is taking place. Students, particularly those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, often feel vulnerable in the clinical learning environment where the pace of work is fast and students face unfamiliar patients, language, staff and routines. The positive effect of a friendly environment where students feel welcome cannot be overestimated. Equally, students have responsibilities in preparing themselves adequately for the experience they are about to undertake. Read more about what makes a positive learning environment.
Characteristics that have been identified by students and workplace supervisors regarding what makes a positive learning environment include:
Best Practice Clinical Learning Environment Project, Dept. Of Health, Victorian Government, 2010, http://www.health.vic.gov.au/workforce/placements/capacity/best-practice.
Watch these Videos to hear from students and staff on getting the workplace experience off to a good start.
Preparing for Prac
How can you prepare yourself for prac?
Settling in (Students)
Why is it important to work closely with staff
in the clinical environment?
There are many different ways to facilitate learning and teaching in the clinical environment. Some specific strategies that can be used by both students and workplace supervisors are:
Watch these Videos to see examples of some of these strategies being used during a typical clinical ‘prac’ day. While you’re watching the videos, think about your own ways of approaching these issues, and what you can learn from the information in this section that will help you to achieve / facilitate quality learning outcomes.