Implementation of worked examples in clinical and professional reasoning module

Activity: Academic engagement & professional developmentContent creation/delivery

Description

Taken from scholarly reflection (linked below)
1st year students are trying to develop skills both in occupational therapy and in academic reading and writing. Commonly, CSU students are first in family, mature aged, or have a lower ATAR than HSC students in the city, and need further support to develop writing skills. This means that often students fail their assignments less on the knowledge that they have, than their writing and referencing skills. I was listening to the Education Research Reading Room podcast interview with Dr. Michael Pershan about using worked examples to teach the gestalt process of maths not just the individual processes https://www.ollielovell.com/errr/michaelpershan/. He outlined a process he used in his high school maths classroom where he:
1. Showed a full example of a math's problem on the board with no explanation
2. Asked students to individually develop generalisations about the example how the person had solved the problem
3. Pair & share their ideas
4. Ask specific questions about what is happening in different lines of working out
5. Practice a new problem

The aim of this was to reduce cognitive load asking students to process too much info at once and practice developing generalisations from looking at examples. Given the complexity of understanding clinical reasoning while also trying to learn the cognitive skills of writing and referencing in 1st year, a worked example using this process appeared promising.

I applied this same process in the clinical reasoning and academic writing space each week in the student tutorial by:
1. Showing a video of a therapist talking about their practice and a full written paragraph explaining the clinical reasoning with references to the pre-class readings with no explanation
2. Asked students to individually develop generalisations about the example how the author had written the paragraph
3. Pair & share their ideas
4. Ask specific questions to the class about:
- what observations the author identified from the video (content)
- how the author linked what they had observed with the literature
- how the author approached issues like not seeing a form of reasoning in the video
5. Practice a new problem with a new video and ask students to write their own observation using the pre-class references. Students then shared their paragraphs including where and how they used the references.

We repeated this process using the new content in each tutorial for 4 weeks to practice observation, writing, and referencing. The students appeared very engaged with this approach and during the writing sessions there was silence and a feeling on concentration in the classroom as they crafted their paragraphs. I observed students improving their analysis of their own writing and referencing skills, and the first assessment has demonstrated much fewer issues with written expression and referencing than in the previous session.

I have been very satisfied with this approach as a way to improve the written expression of the students. It highlighted to me the importance of considering how complex the tasks I was asking students to complete were, and how by doing less explanation, I could actually help them to understand the process more.
PeriodJun 2021Aug 2021
Held atAllied Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences