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Teaching-Learning Environments in Nursing Education and Staff Development

Updated: May 25, 2021

It is important for the educator to understand his or her own style of teaching and learning. When working with communities of learners, it is important to understand different learning styles and work to create a learning environment that is multifaceted and diverse. As societal influences and changes to the healthcare system erupt, nursing curricula must transform to meet the needs of the changing times. Student-centered learning environments engage diverse learning needs of each individual student to support collaborative success.

Nurse educators should be cognizant of their personal learning styles and philosophies. In the past, Heather took a computerized quiz assigned to her as a student in a nursing course that displayed her learning style. The goal of the assignment was for the nursing students to explore how people learn differently and the importance of assessing learning styles to deliver information in ways that support improved understanding of targeted goals and outcomes. For example, if select learners work best with interpersonal connections, they may prefer to be part of active learning through mentoring or tutoring or work on large group projects to socially divide up tasks, while understanding all aspects of the projects. Another example can be seen in learners with naturalistic preferences. These learners may be more engaged in creating a living system for the material that they are trying to learn. Considering learning styles by assessing, reviewing, and integrating instrument measurement can display how students learn best, along with their learning preferences to some degree. Design of effective learning environments can be used to support expected outcomes; however, truly understanding and tailoring approaches thereafter involves a much more holistic review than the computerized quiz allows for. Effective learning environments are well-planned for the given audience (nursing students/nurses) and purpose (to ignite learning!).

Educational philosophies of progressivism, constructivism, and existentialism are rooted in team approaches to learning, where students and faculty work together to support positive learning experiences. These philosophies are often used by nursing faculty in conjunction with one another to build the basis of today’s curriculum, mission statement, and overall program philosophy. Constructivist teaching is very relevant to today’s nursing education system, and can be integrated into nursing philosophy to support diversity in learning. A combination of individual and team assignments helps to build student-centered learning environments where the sound of learning awakens!

Continued growth is imperative for educators. Faculty must develop in order to offer current curriculum and educational learning resources that progress with changing times. Teaching and learning strategies have their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing these advantages and disadvantages and educating with awareness fosters positive teaching and learning environments.


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