DESIGN EFFECTIVENESS VERSUS INTENDED OUTCOMES
The assessment results from the the first implementation of
this learning dsign suggests that students achieved the intended
outcomes. Comments were also made by second year lecturers
that these students were more able to work independently than
UNEXPECTED LEARNING OUTCOMES
There have been some attitude changes observed. Students now
will check the School web sites for information in preference
to notice boards, and so frequently now get information when
HOW LEARNER ENGAGEMENT IS SUPPORTED
The design takes into account the fact that learners have
no university experience and tries to ameliorate this by guiding
at the same time as providing opportunities for independence
are provided. As the subject matter is very professionally
based, it easily meets learner expectations. Peer interaction
and feedback occurs in the learning groups and web site. The
assessment tasks could be improved by making them more practically
related, but this is difficult with current resources. Learners
have some control of when they access materials and when they
do the independent activities. Students particularly enjoy
the practical 'hands-on' sessions.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF LEARNING CONTEXT
The activities, particularly the PBL component, relate very
strongly to the professional context. Social factors are also
included. For example, the patient studied in the PBL section
is a homosexual male suffering from HIV-AIDS and Kaposi's
sarcoma. Students have to consider their own attitudes to
homosexuality when discussing how they would deal with this
patient, as well as practical factors such as infection control.
Assessment tasks meet the theoretical learning outcomes, but
some skills, such as emerging independence, are not assessed.
There are some cultural assumptions in the learning design.
Students from some cultural groups find it difficult to take
part in the interactive tutorial sessions, particularly when
asked for an opinion, and would prefer lectures as they are
more anonymous and less confronting. I believe that this style,
however, encourages deeper learning, and go to a lot of effort
to explain to students why we adopt this learning style.
HOW THE LEARNING DESIGN CHALLENGES LEARNERS
The learning setting encourages students to find information
for themselves starting with an introduction to the concept
by providing all the learning resources in class. Once they
reach the PBL component, students have to find their own information,
and are familiar with the library by this stage. Decisions
about planning, directing and assessing their own learning
are difficult at this early stage, but a tentative start is
made in the PBL component. Students are always encouraged
to ask questions. The PBL component starts with some prompt
questions, the students provide more.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRACTICE
In the interactive tutorials each group is given a question
to answer, using the resources provided. A representative
of the group then presents their findings to the class (a
different representative each week). Each tutorial allows
for feedback from other students and the lecturer, which often
takes the form of questions prompted by the group's presentation.
The MCQs, mastery essay and class test provide feedback throughout
the semester. Assessment questions in the final exam are similar
to the prompt questions used in tutorials.