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Approaches to Learming of Postgraduate Healthcare Professionals in an Outcomes Based Curriculum

Joyce, Pauline (2010) Approaches to Learming of Postgraduate Healthcare Professionals in an Outcomes Based Curriculum. Doctor of Education thesis, Dublin City University.

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Abstract

This thesis has explored the approaches to learning of postgraduate students from the healthcare profession. Their experiences are placed within the perspectives of their lecturers and external examiner for the programme. I employ a phenomenological approach, through the lens of fourth generation evaluation, to gather student’ experiences as insider stakeholders. Previous research relevant to this topic has tended to focus on exploring deep and surface approaches to learning using phenomenography or psychometric inventories, from the students’ perspectives. Research on conceptions of teaching has been carried out separately. It is not clear from the studies reviewed what type of curriculum was in use. Moreover, despite evidence suggesting that learning approaches are complex and vary across disciplines and cultures, this line of research has tended to portray learning as a single phenomenon which can be understood in isolation from the contextual influences of the teachers and the curriculum itself. Prior to in-depth interviews with students I analyse the curriculum as documentary evidence and interview lecturers and the external examiner to contextualise the student experiences. This pluralistic evaluation allows the relationship of experiences to be understood in the context of external influences. I draw on Barnett and Coate’s domains - knowing (learning as knowledge), acting (learning as doing) and self (learning as personal and professional development), as the conceptual framework, to understand and communicate findings from all stakeholders. The main engagement of students in learning is in the domain of acting, with a focus on application to practice and alignment of the learning outcomes. However, there are variances in emphasis within all domains from the stakeholders. The findings suggest a need to restructure the curriculum model of the programme to better represent the dynamic nature of an engaged and living curriculum for postgraduate students with different learning agendas. A curriculum model is proposed which captures the current external influences of alignment within an outcomes-based curriculum and the characteristics and diversity of a postgraduate student group. Suggested internal influences include signature pedagogies and peer learning. Central to the model is a spiral of learning needs which link with domains of learning during the lifetime of the programme. These include challenges and supports (domain of self), evidencebase and mastery (domain of knowing), communications and application to practice (domain of acting). The study highlights the impact of outcomes-based education on learners at postgraduate level in higher education. It provides recognition to the importance of exploring approaches to learning from a pluralistic stance.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctor of Education)
Date of Award:10 September 2010
Refereed:No
Supervisor(s):McNamara, Gerry
Subjects:Social Sciences > Education
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Education Studies
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:15689
Deposited On:04 Apr 2011 16:34 by Gerry McNamara. Last Modified 04 Apr 2011 16:34

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