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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Beyond knowledge and skills: the use of a Delphi study to develop a technology-mediated teaching strategy

Michael Rowe1*, Jose Frantz1 and Vivienne Bozalek2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

2 Directorate of Teaching and Learning, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

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BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:51  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-51

Published: 10 April 2013

Abstract

Background

While there is evidence to suggest that teaching practices in clinical education should include activities that more accurately reflect the real world, many educators base their teaching on transmission models that encourage the rote learning of knowledge and technical skills. Technology-mediated instruction may facilitate the development of professional attributes that go beyond “having” knowledge and skills, but there is limited evidence for how to integrate technology into these innovative teaching approaches.

Methods

This study used a modified Delphi method to help identify the professional attributes of capable practitioners, the approaches to teaching that may facilitate the development of these attributes, and finally, how technology could be integrated with those teaching strategies in order to develop capable practitioners. Open-ended questions were used to gather data from three different expert panels, and results were thematically analysed.

Results

Clinical educators should not view knowledge, skills and attitudes as a set of products of learning, but rather as a set of attributes that are developed during a learning process. Participants highlighted the importance of continuing personal and professional development that emphasised the role of values and emotional response to the clinical context. To develop these attributes, clinical educators should use teaching activities that are learner-centred, interactive, integrated, reflective and that promote engagement. When technology-mediated teaching activities are considered, they should promote the discussion of clinical encounters, facilitate the sharing of resources and experiences, encourage reflection on the learning process and be used to access content outside the classroom. In addition, educational outcomes must drive the integration of technology into teaching practice, rather than the features of the technology.

Conclusions

There is a need for a cultural change in clinical education, in which those involved with the professional training of healthcare professionals perceive teaching as more than the transmission of knowledge and technical skills. Process-oriented teaching practices that integrate technology as part of a carefully designed curriculum may have the potential to facilitate the development of capable healthcare graduates who are able to navigate the complexity of health systems and patient management in ways that go beyond the application of knowledge and skills.

Keywords:
Knowledge and skills; Blended learning; Clinical education; Professional attributes; Teaching and learning; Technology-mediated instruction