Education, Projects, Research

Blended learning in medicine courses

June 1, 2015

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My name is Nora Grotenfelt and I work as a teacher in medicine at Arcada since 2013. When I started, I was asked to completely restructure the two courses in medicine according to the blended classroom pedagogy as a pilot project. Now I´m going to tell you the story about how it all worked out…

Around 130 students per year enroll for the two courses in medicine (5 cr each) at Arcada University of Applied Sciences. These courses were greatly modified during the years 2013 and 2014, serving the need of a pilot project for good practices in e-learning methods. The modification process was initialized during a multi professional discussion session and the courses were then completely restructured according to modern pedagogic concepts, i.e. ”flipped classroom” and ”blended learning”. In short, these methods replace the one way communication often seen in traditional education with more dynamic, interactive and engaging learning activities (1,2,3). For the students, this means a switch compared with traditional learning; doing the “homework” at school and attending “lectures” at home. Most importantly, the technical solutions cannot be seen as the starting point for the planning process. On the contrary, they need to be chosen exclusively according to the pedagogic aims (4).

Traditional lectures were replaced with 5-15 minutes long video lectures posted on Arcada´s learning platform itslearning. These videos are accessible for the students wherever they have an internet connection and therefore easy to watch at home or when traveling. In addition, this enables students to pause or repeat the lecture whenever needed. The activities in class are focused on deepening of the knowledge, understanding contexts and applying theoretical knowledge to practical situations. Every class session has a specific theme which is announced weeks in advance and a maximum of 30 participants. Before each session the students are asked to watch the corresponding videos and look up answers to a questionnaire. The questionnaires are designed to steer the learning activities towards the recommended literature as only some of the answers can be found in the video lectures.

The activities in class are focused on deepening of the knowledge, understanding contexts and applying theoretical knowledge to practical situations.

Analyses of feedback forms filled by the students showed high approval of the new concept in comparison with the traditional methods as seen in the chart. From the teacher´s point of view the new structure enables more energy and focus to be put on higher levels of learning.

The students´ responses to a question about which education method they would prefer, from feedback forms 2013 and 2014.

The students´ responses to a question about which education method they would prefer, from feedback forms 2013 and 2014.

New technology and blended learning can meet the demands of increased efficiency in education without quality losses. Thorough planning and structuring of a blended learning course may even lead to an increase in quality, enabling the teacher to allocate more time and focus on motivating and coaching the students in understanding what they learn, as well as creating an inspiring and positive atmosphere for learning. Blended learning methods steer the students towards activities such as preparing, repeating and processing, and may lead to an increase in student activity level. The variety of learning activities successfully meets the needs of different learning styles and it also enables the students to perform learning activities partly regardless of place and time.

Nora Grotenfelt
Teacher in medicine
Arcada, University of Applied Sciences

References

1. Blended learning and learning platforms, itsLearning Whitepapers 2012.
http://www.itslearning.eu/Websites/itslearningtest/images/Files/blended_learning_whitepaper_web.pdf

2. Blended Learning Model Definitions, Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
http://www.christenseninstitute.org/blended-learning-definitions-and-models

3. Fahlvik, M. The blended classroom, itsLearning Whitepapers
http://itslearning.eu/Websites/itslearningtest/images/Files/Whitepaper-the-blended-classroom.pdf

4. Löfström E, Kanerva K et al. 2010, Med hög kvalitet på nätet: Handbok i nätbaserad undervisning för universitetslärare. ISSN 1795-5416 (inb.) ISSN 1795-5521 (PDF)
http://www.helsinki.fi/julkaisut/aineisto/hallinnon_julkaisuja_72_2010.pdf