HEA conference Feb 2016

 I attended the Higher Education Academy (HEA) conference transforming teaching in health and social care 24/25th February 2016  and presented on the flipped classroom. There were a number of sessions and posters on the value and practical use of flipped classroom, which is becoming more common in health and social care teaching. Here are a few notes from the conference, which may be relevant to some.

Key note speakers discussed the role of the HEA and resources available on their website to support the development of high quality education in higher education. Central funding for the HEA is being withdrawn much sooner than they had anticipated, but they want to continue the work in developing and supporting educational developments. The TEF was a central theme amongst keynote speakers, with emphasis on training for teachers in HE, the importance of monitoring quality, continuing to develop teaching innovations and evaluating students outcomes and learning gain e.g, graduate attributes and employability.

Some of the key issues /innovations discussed in presentations and workshops included:

  • The use of student champions to help peer learning. Also enabling the champions to develop transferable skills, confidence and experience for their CVs.
  • Kahoot – free app for online quizzes. Shows the top 5 students on the page. Students can select their own name, allowing them to remain anonymous
  • Use of “show me” app to teach anatomy additional tutorials. It was used as an interactive whiteboard, with recording of the drawings and spoken word, which could then be uploaded to the VLE.
  • Midwifery programme have flipped the classroom, but don’t repeat things. They focus only know the complex issues and challenging areas, using interactive sessions to develop students’ skills. Students have to take responsibility for engaging with learning materials prior to sessions. (similar to the way we do things on the ultrasound programme)
  • Two sessions were looking at whether we assess students well in practice, particularly in relation to professionalism and the non-technical skills, which are less easy to measure. Both were interactive and didn’t necessarily provide answers, more discussion about how best to assess and reduce the “failure to fail” which is common in health care clinical education. Some suggestions were ensuring supervisors were supported in their roles, telling students they will fail if they don’t do X,Y, Z, to make sure they are aware of their limitations and what they can do to improve. If things are going well supervisors should be encouraged to tell a student this and say that if they continue to consistently do X, they should pass.
  • One lecturer has been using collages and haiku (Japanese non-rhyming poetry) to help students explore their feelings and express the emotional aspects of their training. There is a website “caring words, poetry for health care professionals” http://www.caringwords.mmu.ac.uk/index.php if you are inspired to try it out, it has information about the project, but also some interesting poems written by students. They have found students felt supported and less isolated when they used this within their training, although initially some students were reluctant to try out the poetry. The staff who facilitate these sessions also share their poetry and feelings. It can open up issues, but they feel it better to get these into the open earlier in the course than leave them.
  • Peer support groups were used within a small cohort of Physio students to prepare new students for presentations and vivas. Feedback was positive.
  • Ian Upton (patient) discussed the importance of having well supported patients involved in teaching and developing programmes. His experience of cancer care helped him to set up a company speaking4yourself.co.uk . He discussed the need for compassion, not just empathy and certainly not sympathy. Actions had to go with the words! What is a routine day to day activity to a HCP is anything but for a patient! Whilst a HCP may be thinking about obtaining the appropriate images /getting a cannula in etc the patient may be thinking about whether they will live until the end of the week or what effect the therapy might have on them.

Other suggestions for interactive sessions or student support, following discussions during the conference included

  • Speed dating type scenario, where students go around the room and have a term/ phrase written on a card that they have to explain to other students
  • 3 minute elevator pitch (working in groups)
  • 5 minute essay writing plan
  • Use of emotional freedom technique (EFT) to help reduce student anxiety, particularly prior to exams
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