Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Measuring learning outcomes in healthcare students

Annamaria Bagnasco, MSc PhD, Researcher in Nursing & Education Coordinator1
Lucia Cadorin, MSc PhD, Student in Methodology of Nursing Research2
Angela Tolotti, MSc PhD, Student in Methodology of Nursing Research2
Nicola Pagnucci, MSc PhD, Student in Methodology of Nursing Research2
Gennaro Rocco, MSc, President3
Loredana Sasso, MSc, Associate Professor of Nursing2

1Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Genoa, Italy
2Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, Italy
3IPASVI Centre of Excellence, Rome, Italy


A group of Italian researchers has recently published in JAN a paper titled: ‘Instruments measuring meaningful learning in undergraduate healthcare students: a systematic review protocol’. The aim of this systematic review protocol by Bagnasco et al. (2014) was to establish the psychometric properties of instruments to measure learning outcomes in healthcare students.

Learning outcomes in healthcare students is an important issue that has been debated on an international level due to the difficulty of measuring learning, specifically meaningful learning.

Meaningful learning is an active process that promotes a wider and deeper understanding of concepts. It is the result of an interaction between new and previous knowledge, it produces a long-term change, and it is exclusively built by the learner.

This systematic review offers a synthesis of the data related to instruments that measure learning outcomes and will help to decide which tools to use, as well as design a model to assess meaningful learning in its three dimensions:

a.) ‘cognitive and metacognitive processes’,
b.) ‘behavioural and emotional aspects of learning’ and
c.) ‘attitude towards learning’.

The successful implementation of meaningful learning in nursing students also requires educators to have specific skills and competences. Measuring learning outcomes is very important because it makes students feel responsible for their own learning and helps them understand the process of interaction between the new information they gain and what they already know, making an innovative contribution to this field.


Reference

Bagnasco A, Cadorin L, Tolotti A, Pagnucci N, Rocco G, Sasso L (2014) Instruments measuring meaningful learning in undergraduate healthcare students: a systematic review protocolJournal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12520


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