Researchers at the University of Buffalo School of Nursing, New York, are testing a new teaching method intended to increase critical thinking skills and engagement among nursing students. The new method, called KWLA+R, substitutes the traditional practice of instructor lectures for a more interactive process in which students learn through self-teaching.
Researchers also will implement a flipped classroom in which students listen to or view recordings of lectures outside the classroom and complete assignments in class with an instructor, according to an article written by Marcene Robinson in a university publication.
The method was developed in 1986 to help elementary students with reading comprehension, and is used mainly in elementary and secondary education. Before an assignment, nursing students list what they already know about a given topic, then decide what they want to learn. After completing the assignment, they assess what they have learned and reflect on how they can apply it to their practice.
“Typically when you think of a classroom, you think of a ‘sage on a stage,’ where a teacher lectures for some time and shares information,” Susan Grinslade, PhD, RN, PHCNS, BC, the nursing school’s assistant dean for undergraduate programs and a clinical professor of nursing said in the article.
“There is not a lot of student engagement. The purpose of the KWLA+R and flipped classroom is to engage students in learning before they come into the classroom,” Grinslade said in the article.
Through charting, students in the study will track their comprehension of the material they are studying. Researchers will collect data from the students’ completed charts to examine changes in critical thinking, as well as gather test scores and first-time pass rates for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse to compare with previous classes.