Background: In 2015 the paramedic science staff assisted the Sunshine Coast University Paramedics Association to design a remote area practice workshop to be held at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) education centre at Fraser Island, Australia. We then evaluated the experience from both participant and facilitator’s viewpoints using the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) which places emphasis on themes within the feedback obtained. The pedagogy underlying the development of the workshop was based on social constructivism and experiential learning. The intention was to facilitate students in the process of making decisions and solving real world problems. We used high fidelity simulation to facilitate learning through emersion in real world events, and a feed-forward teaching philosophy based on collaboration and scaffolding so that students effectively construct their own knowledge. To select cases we purposefully used threshold concepts in which the learner faces initial difficulties from either a conceptual, emotional or psychomotor basis, but which once mastered are portals to deeper understandings. The purpose of this presentation is to explain how Nominal Group Technique can be used for curriculum improvement. Methods: Participants in the workshop were third year students completing an advanced paramedicine course regarding injury in the community. The facilitators were qualified paramedics and academic staff from USC. The data collection took place at the end of the two-day workshop on Fraser Island. The researchers and participants met in an informal meeting area of the occupied venue. NGT was utilised as a data collection method to identify a consensus on problems, as well as to generate solutions and make decisions for curriculum development in the future. NGT involves a structured process which includes collaborative brainstorming as well as anonymous judgement elements. These steps discourage the domination of discussions by one or two participants and reduce the social pressure placed on individuals to comply with the group norms. Results: Feedback indicated the exercise was valuable to the students learning and identified improvements which could be facilitated. The data indicated that the participants valued the challenging scenarios resembling real-world practices that also included a mock communications centre. Furthermore the goals of an engaging exercise that built confidence was also realised in an exercise which allowed the development of soft skills. Nevertheless opportunities to improve were also expressed. Two themes dominated the feedback aimed at improving the exercise: increasing the length of the event and developing the scenario structure further. Conclusion: The NGT method is an appropriate method to gain a consensus of opinions where critical feedback can be identified from the less critical feedback in a safe environment. In our application it allowed both the participant and facilitator feedback to be heard, discussed and weighted.
2015 Learning & Teaching Week: Teaching Visions: Seeing Teaching in New Ways, Sunshine Coast, Australia 14-18 September 2015
2015 Learning & Teaching Week Program Book / pp.20-21