Learning Professional Knowledge: Bachelor Nursing Students’ Experiences in Learning and Knowledge Quality Outcomes in a Competence-Based Curriculum

Ria den Hertog, Henny P. A. Boshuizen

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Abstract

Since decades, nursing education struggles with a persistent gap between the theoretical knowledge offered in the study program and its application in professional practice. To bridge this gap competence-based curricula were developed with instructional designs as authentic learning contexts and self-directed learning. In this project we explored final year Bachelor Nursing (BN) students’ experiences in learning in a newly developed curriculum, and their knowledge quality outcomes and the degree of agreement with knowledge requirements. An instrumental multiple case study was conducted with interviews, concept mapping and a domain knowledge list. Results show that a third of the participants had positive learning experiences and got high appraisals for their knowledge quality. Similar to the medium and low scoring participants, they developed instrumental knowledge but integrated other forms of learning into a system of meaning, which is needed to solve non-routine problems in future practice. Medium and low scoring participants did not profit from learning in authentic contexts and self-directed learning. In conclusion, developing sufficient professional knowledge in a constructivist competence-based curriculum is influenced by students’ intrinsic motivation to build a strong knowledge base, by their perception of how to learn and use professional knowledge, and their expectations of the degree of supervision and guidance by the teacher. It is recommended to evaluate the extent to which the intended curriculum is being taught.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-47
Number of pages27
JournalVocations and Learning
Volume15
Issue number1
Early online date18 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Bachelor nursing students
  • Theory-practice gap
  • Competence-based curriculum
  • Learning experiences
  • Authentic contexts
  • Self-directed learning
  • SOCIAL-WORK STUDENTS
  • THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE
  • VOCATIONAL-EDUCATION
  • PRACTICE GAP

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