Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Scoping exercise of work-based assessment programmes for health professionals in Scotland

Keywords: Workplace based assessment, health professionals, Scotland

Authors: Joan McDowell (University of Glasgow); William Wright (University of Glasgow); Kenneth McHardy (Aberdeen Royal Infirmary); Graham Leese (Ninewells Hospital, Dundee)

A scoping exercise was undertaken in 2006 of workbased assessment credited courses for health care professionals in Scotland. Changes in the workplace and skills development, policies for health care and education and the rise in IT all contribute to increasing emphasis on workbased learning (WBL). This exercise was to scope current practice and make recommendations to the Scottish Executive Diabetes Education Group specifically in relation to diabetes education who funded the study. Three methods of data collection were utilised.

  1. Literature review
  2. Interviews with key staff targeted through Scottish Academic Heads of Nursing and Allied Health Professions
  3. Discussions with identified employers and colleagues.

Ethics approval was acquired. Overall outcome was that WBL is perceived as particularly suited to professional development and education of health professionals.

However, specific strengths and weaknesses of WBL were identified and these relate to methods of delivery of education, partnership working and employer aspects.

It is concluded that WBL is appropriate for healthcare but needs careful planning. WBL requires:

  1. Robust partnership working between Universities, employers (e.g. NHS), mentors and student
  2. Is relevant to address educational needs of both generic and specialist nature.
  3. Is resource intensive for all involved.

WBL requires further research into its efficacy in comparison with more traditional methods of learning and assessment. Recommendations from these findings are being explored by the Scottish Executive Diabetes Education group in relation to implementation in practice.

This paper will contribute to the field of integration of learning and practice. It will highlight aspects of how WBL works well and also areas or pitfalls to avoid. It will be of particular interest to those in education and clinical practice who are considering developing new methods of learning for specific areas. It will highlight some of the main issues around quality assurance balanced with the application of learning from and, in, practice.

Date: Friday 25 January 2008, 11.30-12.00

Venue: Carrick Two

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Organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in association with PEPE (Practical Experiences in Professional Education).