Once upon a time, there was a lonely sausage coming out….

This course has been an interesting experience. Most of the content and the proper format turned – if not upside down – at least out of regular place and order some of my perspectives on learning possibilities. It has certainly been a process to pass through the course:

I started as a lonely frozen sausage in a too small pott, with a tsunami of e-mails rushing towards and over me during those first chaotic weeks.

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I kept telling myself to hang in, it just had to be a temporary situation, and surely lots of other sausages out there groping for something to hold on to. I continued struggling with a few peers in the PBL group, and gradually I managed to understand some logic and pattern. The beauty in all this was to end up with the comfort and safety of the group, PBL group 2. I hope we all felt (as I did) that we could rely on each other, and that we found that rhythm to communicate and collaborate in the end. It was nice to be reborn from a frozen sausage to a partaker of a small community (although we´ve never met)!

I still don´t think a very intense ”resident” digital mode is my private melody in this world, referring to White´s and Cornu´s (2011) definition of online engagement, but it is good to learn more about the conditions guiding it. It is really necessary to understand what motivates people and how we can meet in the most favorable and effective ways in the digital landscape, not least as it comes to educational situations.

I will remember different aspects with emphasis from this course. Some details and underlying functions to better understand digital literacy. Such as how part of the geniality of networking lays in the potential of trust and convenience for the participants (Jisc guide, 2016).

I will also note the staggering (sometimes scary but at once fantastic) possibility of openly sharing and using educational resources and knowledge sources, and how such a perspective transform the viewing on collaboration and networking as something possible and even necessary over organizational boundaries and interests (Wellers, 2014).

The fact that diversity is a sign of strength, and that we need to blend and meet, collaborate and mix our competences to achieve innovation and thinking beyond the already known was well described by Wenger (2010), while Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison (2013) added further inspiration of how to actually make use of the time and space dimensions of blended learning to make these meetings happen.

To my work at the Academic primary health center I bring this deeper understanding of the possibilities and functioning of digital learning and collaboration, and the experience of meeting other professionals over time and space, building ties and connections, creating and learning together.
During the course I had the opportunity to look upon our educational mission from different perspectives. I have discovered possibilities with it and also questioned my understanding of it, which might change my way of developing it in the future.
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Resources:

White, D. & Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

Jisc guide ”Evaluating digital services: a visitors and residents approach” (2016).

Weller, M. (2014). Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press.

Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. In Social learning systems and communities of practice (pp. 179-198). Springer London.

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “Conceptual framework”.

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Aligning students´ interprofessional learning conditions with primary care real life context – a clever solution?

As already mentioned here in this blog before, a big issue in clinical education in health care, both nationally and internationally, is to promote interprofessional learning (IPL) which means getting students to learn with, about and from each others, across professional affiliations (CAIPE, 2000). This concept might be beneficial to most working sectors/environments, and as it comes to health care it´s crucial since effective interdisciplinary collaboration and communication can literally have life changing consequences for the patient in a health care context.

One obstacle for IPL in traditional clinical education in primary care is the distribution of students from different professions at different clinical health care units, both over time and geographies. Opportunities to gather students from a broad disciplinary spectrum at a specific health care unit at the same time are few. Characteristics of primary health care everyday reality similarly rarely gather many different professions at the exact same place and time. Interprofessional contacts in primary care, in fact, more often have the nature of a relay race. One profession passes on the information and the questions necessary for the other profession(s) to consider. It is a continuous exchange. Difficulties highlighted for IPL activities in primary care are connected with logistics, time and resources.

IPL as a phenomenon goes beyond the simple exchange of information and knowledge. It also comprises a possibility of creation of brand new knowledge and understanding (learning TOGETHER WITH each others) – a unique ”product” or learning outcome, resulting from a unique constellation and a unique situation. Some qualities of such a process are well described by Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison (2013), when they discuss benefits from interaction between personal reflection and shared discourse, between independence in reflection and interdependence of group mates in a community of inquiry. Resulting benefits could be critical thinking, rational judgment and understanding, all essential for development of higher-order thinking. Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison (a.a.) argue that a team spirit which supplies learners in a group with multiple roles provokes role complexity. The possibility of interaction between collective learning development and individual learning development offered by a blended learning approach as described by Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison (a.a.) aligns to great extent with the fundaments of IPL.

What Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison (a.a.) establish  about the intellectually favorable oscillating movement between individual reflection and collaborative teamwork characteristic of a blended design for online and face-to-face learning, has a parallel structure in the dynamics of primary care interprofessional every day exchange. As quality blended learning owns the potential to extend thinking and discourse over time and space, similar requisites (extension of time and space parameters) are conducting most interprofessional collaboration opportunities in primary care. If interprofessional relay race collaboration is in fact enabling extended thinking and discourse over time and space, these characteristic requisites might not be simply limiting but who knows (under favorable conditions) fructifying? IPL activities with a blended online and face-to.face design would regardless be both logistically smoothly and related to the current conditions of primary care interprofessional everyday life. Loosing up the requirements for synchronous meetings in time and space as it comes to interprofessional learning activities might also bring benefits regarding the diversity of professional representation. It is in fact extremely unusual to have face-to-face encounters with more than two or three professions, both in educational contexts and in real life in primary care. Nevertheless, we do collaborate in the most complex constellations on the same patient case in our every day work. That might be something worth taking advantage of in the creation of IPL solutions for primary care settings.

 

References:

CAIPE (2000). What is CAIPE? Found 161124 at: https://www.caipe.org/

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “Conceptual framework”.

The humility of acknowledging the unique contribution of every student in a learning situation

I think the concept of community of practice is a useful starting point whenever working with groups of people and studying or relating in other ways to the interaction between people and between people and their surrounding social world.
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When it comes to education and learning I specifically appreciate the humility inherent with the viewing of each individual’s contribution to the knowledge development in an interactive learning situation as unique. I think it is a beautiful way of putting it, as Wenger (2010) do, that our identity – with who we are, what we know, our history and all the qualities that composite our unique person – ”is our gift to the world”. This is an understanding fundamental for every dialogue and social interaction, for every tentative to fruitful development of conflict situations. It is also an approach that opens for respect and effective, complex learning for all involved as it comes to encounters with and supervision of students in clinical education.
Reference:
Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. In Social learning systems and communities of practice (pp. 179-198). Springer London.

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Collaborative learning across professional boarders

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One of the main tasks of the Academic primary health center as it comes to management of students’ clinical education, is to promote interprofessional learning, ie students from different professional fields learning with, from and about each other (Caipe, 2000).

This is also expressed as a specific learning objective for students’ clinical education formulated by the universities for all academic programmes in health care (although sometimes with differing stringency).

It is from this point of view surely interesting to read about Wenger’s (2010) explanation of the process of learning occuring with specific qualities in the boundary of knowledge landscapes. The description of the dynamics of interaction between practices adds deeper understanding to the phenomenon of interprofessional learning which Caipe (2000) refered to as inherent of the capacity to build new knowledge together, across professional fields. As stated by Wenger (2010), this knowledge boundary region, this moment of meeting where practices, competencies and knowledge history crash into each other, opens up possibilities for innovation, new solutions and thinking beyond the already known.

Despite obvious contributions with the interprofessional perspective in learning though, it continues to be one of our great challenges (not at least logistically) to make these moments happen in clinical education.

Digitalizing and opening up our educational methods might help us reaching students and bringing them together interprofessionaly more easily. We still will have to consider basic requirements though, such as infrastructural conditions, students’ needs, formulation of learning objectives and teachers’ competence (Anderson, 2008).

References:

Anderson, T. (2008). Teaching in an online learning context. In The theory and practice of online learning(pp. 343-395). Athabasca university press.
Caipe. (2000). What is Caipe? Found 161103 at: https://www.caipe.org

Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. In Social learning systems and communities of practice (pp. 179-198). Springer London.

Worthy resources far away and very close

It´s really interesting to learn more about the possibilities of open learning. To get a glimpse of all the possibilities that are out there on the internet. How we can share, and make contact all over the world, by networking and collaborating.

 

This weekend I also learnt to appreciate more and got to know more about the knowledge possessed by my very close contacts, in this case my son! It was a great pleasure to work together with him finalizing our PBL group presentation and see how fast he is and all the tricks and short cuts he knows in formatting digital material. He educates himself every day using videos and youtube clips. He is a true digital learner. I need to do more what he has already been doing for years. And he looks happy too, doesn´t he?

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Creative Commons and the bridging of challenging gaps between different worlds and concepts – could it contribute to a liberating diversity?

Having in mind our focus area for the topic 2 studies in the PBL group 2 (How can I share my resources in a responsible way and what advantages are there for me as a teacher? How can I use educational resources responsibly and what am I allowed to use?), and at the same time trying to make the connection to my professional field, as that of offering good quality clinical studies for university students of different professions coming to the clinical reality at primary health care entities, I would like to develop some thoughts specifically on the sentence of ”what advantages are there for me as a teacher” sharing and using OERs.
I was thinking as I read about the many benefits of OERs (such as strengthening an institutions reputation, cost reduction, time effectiveness, quality improvement, learning efficiency improvement, and so on) in general (Weller, 2014), that depending on your specific teaching/learning conditions, the potentiality of the benefits might be bigger or smaller. I am thinking that perhaps there are specific contexts where using and sharing educational resources can make quite a big difference.
Clinical studies have different challenges from the start. One of them is to bridge the gap between theory and practice. To make a smooth link and an understandable bond between the abstract, the utopia, the ideology vs the chaos of reality, the lived life and the organizational structures of primary health care every day working life.
Another challenge is the cooperation and networking between the university on the one hand and the clinical supervisors on the other. These are two worlds, two cultures meeting, and there is an urgency for good cooperation.
Yet another challenge is the need to bring together different professional identities and different disciplinary fileds, as it is core to make students from different professions meet and learn together during their clinical studies.
With these challenges as a starting point I see great potential for the sharing and using of educational resources in an open way. We might really benefit from creating and openly sharing resources that can link these ”differences” or extremes.
As for the students, it might be interesting to access a blended environment with contributions from both university and the clinical primary care entity. Offered as an open space it might facilitate for students to reach information at optional times, they could even prepare themselves before reaching their clinical unit the first day.
Evaluation and summery comments could be gathered in the transition back to the theoretical courses.
And in the future, why not offering theoretical courses paralel with the clinical studies?
As for the universities, the academic primary health centers and for the primary health units and its supervisors, the proper process of creating some kind of open educational common resource  might be a good opportunity to actually dig into the ever returning challenge of unifying theory and practice, as well as it might bring some new light on the possibilities and difficulties of interprofessional learning.
Bringing theory into practice and lifting the clinical situation to a theoretical discussion is a universal issue. Openly sharing and making use of published resources of this matter might therefor be effective both ways.
The nature of an open digital educational environment with a mixture of contributions from both academic, not-for-profit organizations, national agencies and commercial interests (Wellers, 2014) might also be interesting when introducing students to the clinical reality, since this is in a way representative for the clinical every day life, where we all need to be prepared to valid different knowledge sources and underlying motives of information.
One example as for nursing in primary care is the big knowledge field of wound treatment. Here we have inumerous commercial actors developing new forms of treatments and materials, knowledge necessary to continously keep up with as practicing nurse and student, but hard for the universities to present in a neutral overview.
An open network of universities and primary health organizations and clinical units might offer students a diversity of angles of knowledge and guidance as it comes to validation of commercial knowledge sources that would better prepare students for their clinical experience, inclusively more naturally link different profession groups.
Making use of the framework of creative commons (Creative Commons Guide) might more easily enable other universities and institutions to use established concepts and solutions from such an open network and in turn incentive them to connect and contribute with even more quality and diversity.

Interprofessional learning – the most convenient option?

Reading the Jisc guide ”Evaluating digital services: a visitors and residents approach” the concept of conveniency suddenly appeared to me in a new shape.

At the Academic primary health centers we promote interprofessional learning in many forms. It is something the universities strongly wish for us to mediate to the students during their clinical studies. Interprofessional learning opportunities are sometimes tricky to arrange and to motivate to in the clinical every day-work though. The motive is often held to be lack of time and logistical problems to arrange such meetings (Silén, 2013).

The Jisc guide ”Evaluating digital services: a visitors and residents approach” (2016) reveals something interesting in their study of what motivates different types of engagement with the digital environment for learning. It says that ”people trust people”, which among other things means that students tend to learn from each other, and seek information from peers in many educational situations. It´s about trust, and it´s about convenience.

I thought to myself that supporting interprofessional learning on student level, and at the same time offering and inspiring to digital environments for doing so, might just be a very promising combo! It enables convenience from two angels. The peer resource is viewed by students as”trustable” in terms of what is considered required quality for the learning task (a.a.), and digital communication and information have the potential of creating convenience in the matter of connecting people.

Building interprofessional teams of students, in the digital world, we wouldn´t have to wait for the clinical situations to happen, nor necessarily for the students to leave the universities and come to the clinical studies to get started. They could just start learning, reflecting, and building knowledge together and from each other´s professions all from the beginning.

 

Silén, C. (2013). Lärande i verksamhetsförlagd utbildning, VFU. I C. Silén & K. Bolander Laksov (Red.), Att skapa pedagogiska möten i medicin och vård. (s. 77-116). Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Jisc guide ”Evaluating digital services: a visitors and residents approach” (2016).

Digital literacy and the balance between the professional and private sphere

So here I am, starting to dig into the mountain of knowledge of digital literacy, by the opportunity that this course offers. My intention was to level up, at an arena that I, so far, have not bothered much about: the digital tools, the different social media platforms.

My motives were clear, just a few days ago. I wanted to develop in my professional area, I wanted to increase my possibilities to manage teaching situations and reach out to students in new ways. I didn´t reflect much about how it came that I don´t already posses these skills. Perhaps it just went along well with my self image as a middle aged mom. I´m simply a person who never learned, and never felt much pressure to learn, these things. The younger generation of the family was born into it, not me.

My private digital activity is low. It can definitely mostly be found at the ”visitor” space, considering the visitor and resident continuum described by White and Cornu (2011). If someone had asked me before this course started I guess my answer to why, would have been: lack of interest, lack of need, lack of social network who requires me to act differently and forces me to investigate it further.

As I took my next step (as I thought a strictly professional step) out in this world through the course, something interesting happened. Since the gap between my former activity and my new (professional) activity was rather big, my turning to a more ”resident” behavior all of a sudden was quite sensible. The intensity of the more resident mode affected me on a general basis. I feel as if it occupies me as a whole. The professional life comes crawling in and over and beneath. And it urges me to set up strategies to keep boundaries intact or at least reflect over the intensity of the flexible nature of these tools.

Something I had not thought about before I joined the course was the calmness and the ”unreachability” reserved for the ”visitor end” of the visitor and resident continuum mentioned by White and Cornu (a.a.). I guess that´s part of the motives behind my former digital pattern too, although I didn´t really realize it until now.

 

Reference:

White, D. & Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

Working environment

Talking about working environment, I just have to publish this picture as a comic comment, reflecting on the level of what can be considered as a good meal at work.

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This is the lonely, frozen sausage in an empty too small pot, that one of my working colleges is preparing for lunch. It´s like a sad, yet funny, image of the hard working health care staff of today´s Sweden. The sausage is not mine, but my plate is no better at all.

My first week with ONL

 

My experiences from the first week of the course are shattered, but can be summerized as overwhelming.

I´m impressed by the good organization of the course material and the Tools and thoughts behind  the logistic plan of the course. I find for instance the activity tracking a simple but helpful assistance for me working on a distance with a course material when I might find it hard to know if I am following the correct rythm and working strategy, since the form is so new for me.

I also want to give my praise to the course leaders for a very friendly and helpful approach (makes a big difference for whom feels insecure and silly). I guess that´s a very consciuos strategy, and if not – please make it one! That also goes for my fellow participants, who all greet each other with a good humor and a portion of encouragement. Thank you all for that, (especially) although it isn´t your work to do it! I guess you were all just well educated as children 🙂

It has been quite a chock, though, trying to manage the stress of a control-freak-hearted person as myself, when flooded by the enormous amount of e-mails from the over 100 participants. All parallel with the attempt to get a grip of the design of the course and the learning objectives. It has been two weeks of a constant feeling of: My god, I have to catch up, I´m missing billion of important things!!!

Maybe for next course, it could be nice to find out any possibility where the participants can sort among the messages from the different group communities? I meen, of course everyone wants to follow the movement and read all the greetings of the other participants, but above all I think we´re afraid to loose some important course information. And for the new course participants it might get a little confusing with so many messages at the same time. If there where like taged in some way, one could easily differ one cathegory from the other, and manage to take a Deep breath once in a while during the first one-two weeks.

 

It is a good reflection to make in this course too, the dilemma of the digital world and the digital tools for our working life Environment. It is necessary to discuss and to set up some borders I think.

I am very happy to participate in this course and meet all the others who do the same! Here are som pictures again, from Hässelby. Enjoy, and rush off!