Revolutionizing Nursing Education

Dr. Patricia Thomas from the University of Texas at Arlington hosted an interesting TED Talk on a trend in nursing education entitled Revolutionizing Nursing Education.  Her school has launched a digital simulation lab for students learning.  They recognized the digital age of their students and adapted learning to accommodate this need. The basis of the program is gaming in 3D. The lab would take a case, such as a newborn baby, then provide visuals and real-time case Interactive Ventilatorsituations.  The student may be doing an online newborn physical assessment her baby then the situation changes to an absent heart beat.  The student would have to use his/her current knowledge to navigate lab works, tests, doctors orders, and procedures.  The overall learning experience builds as the student progresses through the lab.  The program taps into students critical thinking and knowledge.  Professors monitor the students work and can Professor's Notesamend the program based on current teachings.  This is a truly revolutionary method of teaching and learning in a skills based program such as nursing.


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Skype Call

The Skype call with my assigned partner (Curt) was interesting. I did not particularly enjoy the experience, as I like to work completely on my own, but I do recognize the value in sharing ideas in a class about adult education.

Curt discussed a trend in his field in the federal government related to transferring learning.  He mentioned employees are younger and more tech savvy, therefore, do not want a formal teaching environment for on the job learning.  This is a threat to someone like Curt, who is the educator, and could put him out of a job.  The key is an enterprising approach, which combines classroom and technology.  The problem may be, the cost savings with the online approach.  His research did not include what was included with the cost savings or actual numbers.

This was interesting to me as Curt’s area of focus is procurement, but the progression from structured classrooms to online employee education is occurring in many professions. One hospital I worked at, I had to attend inservices over a four month period, in a classroom.  Now, the delivery mode is online and can be done at home.  It is comforting to know all industries are struggling the same way and need to adapt to their clientele.

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While researching for my paper, I learned a lot on self-directed learning (SDL) I will apply to my classes.  It is popular for adults to want a non-traditional classroom, therefore, self-directed learning is often sought to advance knowledge.  Ironically, this mode of learning is what men and women do when learning a new skill, trying a new recipe or building a shelf.  It is not a new concept but is certainly in vogue for adults…the more independent a person can be is often the attraction to the course.  the role of the educator in this mode of education is pivotal.

The role of the student in self-directed learning is as important as the educator. Weimer (2014) indicates, adult students want teachers to provide the information or else the teacher is not doing their job. The role of the educator includes fostering a learning environment that supports formal learning and self-education. The challenge comes when the educator creates dependency on themselves or does not push the learners to seek answers (Merriam & Beirema, 2014). Students lacking a vision for learning, anticipate the educator will provide the answer. Conversely, it is the educators’ responsibility to, clearly, delineate accountability and goal setting at the beginning of the learning experience (Merriam & Beirema, 2014).

The educator may experience cultural barriers with self-directed learning. Al-Eraky (2014) emphasizes that SDL may be difficult for students of Asian, Arab and Dutch descent. Learning, from these areas, tend to be hierarchal, with the educator dictating learning (2014). Although students may be taught to be SDL, Al-Eraky (2014) indicates Dutch and Chinese students were adaptive to SDL, but very competitive, whereas, Arab students felt lost and the majority of Asian students found the change in learning style difficult. These conclusions stem back to Tough (1978) emphasizing learners evaluating their own learning but, educators must constantly evaluate their role in the learner’s environment and factors hindering SDL.

Although this may not seem trendy, those students that have been educated through a formal system, find this mode of learning new and curious.  There are so many different deliver systems for SDL it is hard as the educator to keep up with the availability.

Al-Eraky, Mohammed. (2013, October 1). The cultural flavours of problem-based learning. Medical Education. doi: 10.1111/medu.12285

Merriam, S.B., & Bierema, L.L. (2014). Adult learning: Linking theory and practice. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

Weimer, M. (2014). “She didn’t teach. We had to learn it ourselves”. Retrieved from



New Insights

This classes have been interesting! I have gained a variety of new insights, in particular, in relation to the role of the educator. The educator’s role is vast and not only teaches but provides assistance to navigate through the course and focus the student. The discussion by Bart (2011) focussed on providing prompts to guide students on thinking, analyzing and reasoning .  Bart (2011) also discussed assisting students to engage in reflection. Both of these concepts are based on the educator’s skills to navigate. I had never thought to include something like critical reasoning or reflection as a learning goal for the class. To consciously add this information to the course syllabus would provide a clear teaching and learning goal for the student and educator.


Bart, M. (2011, May 11). Critical reflection adds depth and breadth to student learning. Retrieved from

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Gaming in Nursing

An interesting article I found on gaming in nursing education.  I found this particular relevant to my practice as I like to keep my classroom fun and relevant.

In an article by Day-Black, Merrill, Konzelman, Williams and Hart (2015), the focus is on gaming as a teaching-learning strategy for students in a community health nursing program. The term ‘digital’ students was given for anyone born after 1983 (para.1). These students find traditional learning environments limiting and need engagement, technology and entertainment. Instead of juvenile, classroom exams, the article emphasizes serious games meant to be used in an informal setting. Serious gaming allows for a meaningful learning experience for the student, in a place that is relevant to them, combining kinetic and tactile learning styles of the digital nurse. The implementation of this program began when instructors noticed nursing students were bored with the standard delivery of instructional material. The premise of the program is based on the first three levels of Bloom’s taxonomy: knowledge, comprehension, and application. The laying of learning for the course was to provide a variety of methods of learning, including gaming. A limitation was, not all students were of the digital generation, and therefore, there was still a place for the traditional classroom. Although, gaming is fun and addresses a particular generations needed, the game must be evidence-based with clear goals and objectives focused on learning for the course.

Day-Black, C., Merrill, E., Konzelman, L., Williams, T., and Hart, N. (2015). Gamification: An innovative teaching-learning strategy for the digital learning students in a community health nursing course. ABNF Journal, pp.90-94.

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Trends in Education

Blended learning is evolving in education. Through blended-learning-in-educationthe combination of face-to-face learning with online activities, overtly, it appears to be the perfect blend of formal and self-directed education. Bart (2010) indicates blended learning is an alternative to traditional learning, overcrowded classrooms and is cost-effective (para 1). The article does elaborate on the fiscal savings. Bart (2010) explains preparation for the educator increases, in a blended classroom requiring discipline to adhere to the lesson plan. An increased workload yielding cost-savings will undoubtedly not be seen by the instructor but possibly by the institution in overhead.

Blended learning is structured to provide the learner in depth guidance in the course. Bart (2010) explains, explicit instructions, class guides and learning goals are outlined as weekly expectations for the student. The onus is on the learner to prepare, prior to class, then to follow-up after learning. Knowing the learning environment is blended provides the learner with the understanding there is preparation to complete and full engagement is required when in class (Bart, 2010).

This article provides an example of a blended course executed in a chemistry class. During the three year period of blended learning, the class average rose by 25 percent (Bart, 2010). The increase is attributed to more active learning activities that required more time on task as opposed to traditional lecture (Bart, 2010). This course provides online quizzes, the students have embraced, even though the total worth is minimal. The success of the quizzes maybe due to layered questions (easier are first), questions not available in the text book, randomization of questions, short-time investment, quiz bank that varies questions and following a quiz schedule (Bart, 2010).

Blended learning appears to be a positive change for educators and learners. It promotes learner success while providing variety and change for the educator. In a world thriving on technology, this classroom may be the balance needed for optimal learning.


Bart, M. (2010, March 24). The benefits of blended learning. Retrieved from

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Lesson Planning Components

Lesson planning is a structured process from which the educator creates a guide to follow for a class. A standard lesson plan contains eight components, I will discuss the top five and supporting evidence that I will use in the classroom.

I chose an article by Weimer (2014) to exemplify the lesson planning component: creating a positive learning experience. I selected this article based on the statement “It’s a responsibility shared by teachers and students” (Weimer, para 2) in reference to the classroom environment. Both faculty and students were asked to, individually, document five or six items that each, respectively does to create a difficult learning environment. I want to do this with my students as it elevates the level of transparency in the classroom.

Next I chose an article by Weimer (2013) focusing on higher order questions and Bloom’s taxonomy. The higher order problems were preferred by teachers as they tested consequences and required analysis beyond a rote questions. I chose this article as the final nursing exam, the NCLEX is all multiple choice and although, higher order questions can be tested, the ability to test critical thinking in another format is completely lost.

Shank (2013) discusses the design and delivery of courses based on characteristics of adult learners. I was drawn to this article as my students bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the classroom therefore, course content provides avenues for students to share their experiences. I find I plan classes around them to allow for diversity and various learning styles. Shank (2013) advocates individualized learning which I tend to forget as I relate adulthood with total control. The personalization of the content comes to fruition when I meet the students.

Motivational techniques play a role in lesson planning, in particular, with the use of humour. Henderson (2015) states “humour activates our sense of wonder” (para 3). This quote is prevalent as I try to use humour throughout the nursing curriculum. The article indicated, when correctly used, humour increases retention if the instructional humour is topic related.

The final lesson plan component examined is based on critical thinking assessment by Weimer (2015). This is prevalent in my classroom as critical thinking is a mandatory characteristic for a Registered Nurse. Although I will not use the standardized tests mentioned, I appreciate the criteria assessed as it is difficult to objectively judge critical thinking and even harder to define. As part of a lesson plan, I would implement critical thinking characteristics criteria pre- and post-lesson then assess.

As indicated above, only five of the eight components of a lesson plan have been explored. The ideas generated from each article have added to my repertoire of teaching techniques.

Henderson, S. (March 31, 2015).Laughter and learning: Humor boosts retention. Edutopia. Retrieved from

Shank, P. (April 2, 2013). More on designing and teaching courses with adult students in mind. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from

Weimer, M. (2013). Don’t assume difficult question automatically lead to higher-order thinking. The Teaching Professor, 27(5). Retrieved from

Weimer, M. (June 18, 2014). An effective learning environment is a shared responsibility. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from

Weimer, M. (July 3, 2013). Critical thinking: Definitions and assessments. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from