Traditional Poster Round
Context: : Small group learning(SGL) is one of the strategies that have been shown to facilitate active learning,(1) better retention (2,3) and higher satisfaction with learning.(4,5) Students also prefer SGL as compared to didactic teaching methods.(5) Educators too enjoy facilitating SGL and have positive experience towards SGL.(6) However, with increasing intake of students in a batch it is challenging for educators to implement SGL in routine teaching. To the best of our knowledge, reports on implementation of SGL in nursing education in India are scarce, although there are a number of studies on medical students. The use of strategies like SGL for teaching, and objective structured clinical evaluation (OSCE) for assessments are exceptions and not the norm.
Description: : We aimed to assess the feasibility and experience of small group learning (SGL) in undergraduate nursing students using low technology simulators. SGL was implemented for final year undergraduate nursing students (n=92) to teach obstetric skills and immediate management of sick newborn using standard treatment protocols (STPs) over 2 days. Obstetric skills were demonstrated on manikins using checklist, namely, active management of third stage of labour (AMTSL), postpartum Insertion of intrauterine device (PPIUD), and insertion of interval intrauterine device. The immediate management of sick newborn using standard treatment protocols (STPs) were taught to the students using job aids, case scenarios, and manikins which can elicit vital signs like heart rate and respiration (Neonatalie- Laerdal).
Observation/Evaluation: : The students were assessed using objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). Feedback on their experience of SGL was taken using 5 point likert scale. The instrument had ten items and two open ended questions. Majority of the students scored above 75% at the OSCE station on recognition and management of neonatal hypothermia Students also gave positive feedback about the teaching-learning experience. They strongly agreed that SGL helped them understand the subject. Majority of them strongly agreed that the sessions were engaging and they could actively involve themselves in learning. Most of them were able to interact with group members during the learning sessions. They clearly prefer SGL over traditional methods and felt that SGL helped them appreciate the importance of the topic being taught[Table.1]. Hands on practice were also reported to be a major contributing factor for learning. Many of them suggested that SGL should become a regular feature in routine teaching [Box.1].
Discussion: : This study supports previous literature on advantages of SGL like better comprehension and retention, active learning, group interaction and students ‘engagement in learning.(1,2,4,5,7) Students also preferred SGL over didactic teaching methods, which is similar to previous findings(8). Hands on practice was also reported as a major contributor to learning, and most of them strongly agreed that it made them feel confident to perform skills in actual clinical setting. Though we cannot completely do away with traditional teaching methods but educators can incorporate elements of SGL even in large groups in order to actively engage the students and make the lectures enjoyable. This study suggests that SGL using low technology simulators is a highly acceptable method of teaching among nursing students. Educators need to use methods of teaching like SGL with use of even low technology simulators that will result in meaningful learning.