Building on conventional teaching styles and methods, there are many new, innovative approaches to teaching health care related college courses. Fostering a productive learning atmosphere for college students can be a daunting task at times. However, by integrating multiple learning opportunities, students can and will be more interested, focused, and produce higher learning outcomes. The following sections of this post emphasize the need to promote 21st-century teaching methods that cultivate a broader, more applicable set of skills for the workforce. Specifically speaking, the examples provided come from experiences teaching a healthcare administration course for college undergraduates at the junior and senior level.
Despite the amount of experience and knowledge that one may have about a given healthcare topic, knowing the best approaches to teaching a subject that many, especially the younger generation of students, are not as interested in can be difficult. However, by being aware that you will be teaching the future leaders of healthcare, it makes the process of figuring out the best approaches even more critical. With classes already off to a great start this semester, AL-HAC would like to recommend a few applicable class activities and projects that may make teaching and learning more enriching for those involved.
Schedule a site visit to a local health care facility
Whether you teach nursing, healthcare administration, or another health profession, you can add flair to the topic by visiting a facility or organization that your class is built upon. For example, if you teach a long-term care administration course, you could schedule a site visit to a local assisted living facility a few miles away from your educational institution. Students will be able to experience, first-hand, an actual facility, how it operates, and the type of administration required for that facility. As an outcome, students will have the opportunity to apply classroom lessons to a real-life example and, perhaps, talk with staff at the facility after the site visit.
Include “active learning” to class activities
Another resource that could be included is active learning activities. During different portions of a course, you could include an activity to be completed in groups or individually. These activities can be applied based on the topics that you are covering for that given day. For example, if you are covering a marketing section, you could have the students break up into groups and "create" their own healthcare facility utilizing marketing techniques. Creating these hypothetical facilities will foster conversation (and fun) within the classroom while learning about the actual material needed for course competencies.
Allow guest speakers to visit for a lecture
Typically, when teaching college courses, the instructor is knowledgeable in the course area. However, that does not mean that the one teaching has worked in the setting being taught. If this is the case, guest lectures can build in personal experiences from the field that may be missed in teaching the course otherwise throughout the semester. Personal encounters with outside sources connected to healthcare topics can help students better understand the field from another viewpoint with experience in that particular area.
Implement new technology in the classroom
Another useful educational learning tool to encompass in the classroom is new technology. A new teaching technology that is being used across multiple classrooms and age groups is quizzing software such as Kahoot. Through the Kahoot website, you have the ability to create quizzes for the students. Then, they can log onto Kahoot and enter the game portal with the provided access code. The class can then answer the questions together on their phones, tablets, or laptops. The game includes music, keeps score of the players, and can be personalized to fit any course. Students will receive a unique, fun, competitive nature of learning through the use of technology in the classroom. The software can also be used as a method to review for exams or the course in general.
Keep students the priority in class decisions
Above all teaching approaches, keeping students connected to their personal learning experiences is vitally important. Although you will not know your students until the first day of class, allow them to be part of the decision-making process. For example, on the first day of class, you could ask students what topics they want to cover more so than others based on the syllabus. An option could include eliminating a topic that was originally planned and substituting in a topic of their choice. By doing so, students and the instructor can collaborate together to tailor a course that is beneficial to their personal career interests. Students will, more than likely, be pleased that you included them and wanted to know their personal opinions, ideas, and suggestions. As the instructor, you will also have the opportunity to know your students better.
By the time your health-related course is finished, students can leave with a learning experience that will not be forgotten. You can gauge your success by incorporating the above recommendations through instructor surveys and asking students about their career interests before and after the course. No matter the generational gap in understanding in the healthcare field, students are willing and able to find interest if the yearn to deliver quality teaching approaches exists. As we prepare our future healthcare leaders, this is important to consider. The moral of the story? Try new approaches to teaching, remember to put the students first, and be willing to go beyond the classroom (physically and mentally) for students to better understand and learn about healthcare.
Kahoot Website. https://kahoot.it/#/. Accessed on October 8, 2017.