• Ignite

Strategies to Ignite Learning in Nursing Education and Staff Development

Updated: Mar 14, 2020

While working with nursing students it is imperative that the nurse educator assess the students as individual learners with individual needs. Learning varies from student to student and the nurse educator needs to determine their individual learning needs, readiness to learn, and individual learning style. Understanding this information about the students enables the nurse educator to develop a unique teaching plan that utilizes various teaching methods. The active teaching processes of journaling, written assignments via discussion postings, and portfolio entry design encourages development of student learning regarding course outcomes, and lends to the use of both summative and formative feedback when used in conjunction with one another.


Learning activities should be designed to spark learning of the expected module outcomes and align with the expected course and program outcomes!


The use of written assignment via discussion postings can be integrated into each weekly learning module to promote critical thinking development and examination of content. Course discussion has much strength when tailored to the given circumstance to align with the module’s learning objectives and assigned readings. Written assignments should progress in complexity throughout the program in order to improve writing skills and develop learning. Written assignments can be completed with guidance from the nurse educator through active participation in course discussions. Assessment of written assignments via course discussions should be done weekly utilizing a scoring rubric with predetermined objectives. Written work, such as course papers, should be evaluated based on predetermined criteria. The criteria should include the quality of content, the flow and organization of material, and the process of determining conclusions or presenting an argument. With written assignments, formative or summative feedback can be used.


If introspection supports an intended goal of learning for a given course, journaling can prove to be constructive. Journals promote the examination of feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. Through this type of written assignment, students are encouraged to reflect on their learning and development. Each week, students can reflect in their journal on the assigned areas of learning to align with the module’s intended outcomes. The journal should be viewable by the student and professor only. With journaling, formative feedback is typically most appropriate.


Another helpful teaching method is the use of portfolio entry design within the course. Portfolio work is a worthy teaching and learning tool as it encourages self-examination. For example, a student could design a portfolio entry on personal philosophy of nursing practice with integration of the Synergy Model for Patient Care. Portfolio development can allow for both formative and summative feedback to be given.