• Mathilde Nefer
4. term, Master of Learning Processes (Continuing education) (Continuing Education Programme (Master))
Subject and thesis: The increasing number of professional bachelor students and the challenges of recruiting and retaining clinical advisors strongly impacts education and learning in practice. Institutionally peer learning (PL) is positioned as a method for responding to these conditions, while simultaneously providing excellent quality education. The educational mission is to develop professional competence (PC), i.e., the ability to utilize different forms of knowledge contextually, and to make the best possible clinical decision to benefit individual patients. Experienced practitioners are knowledge- and normative role models such that students learn and develop PC in their company. This study hypothesizes that PL favours explicit knowledge and rule-based abilities and deprioritizes the development of PC. Available research asserts that features of PL support education and learning in practice but does not focus on PC. Thus, knowledge is needed concerning the impact of PL on students’ development of PC.

Aim: The goal of the study is to understand the connection between PL and students’ development of PC, and to create knowledge that can improve education in practice. In order to understand the importance of PL for students’ development of PC, the study examines what PL is and what PL can contribute to learning in practice, as well as how PC is brought into play through PL.

Method: The study has a qualitative research approach, takes a metatheoretical point of departure in pragmatism, and is both theoretically and empirically anchored. Field work inspires the methodological framework in order to capture the students’ experiential processes in connection with PL, and to create an ethnographically inspired experience in practice. Combined with theoretical perspectives these two connect the cohesion between PL and the development of PC.

Analysis: According to Boud, PL is an approach to learning where coequal and mutually dependent individuals share knowledge, ideas and experiences to obtain mutually beneficial learning, which renders learning less onerous and more pleasurable. PL supports the learning process and can facilitate development of a reflexive practice and critical self-awareness, as well as lay the foundation for lifelong learning. According to Illeris, learning takes place in the tension between an internal process of acquisition and an external process of collaboration. The impact of PL on the process of learning arises in the social dimension, a context which according to Eraut is conditioned by constantly shifting settings and unpredictable situations with complex (heuristic) tasks, where meeting the demands and expectations of the surroundings takes precedence. These constitute a potential barrier to learning which in the long run can drain students’ inner motivation for learning in practice. The study shows that PL, however, minimizes barriers to learning and creates a dynamic balance between norms, demands and expectations of the context and students’ education and learning. In connection with PL, students experience less pressure from their surroundings and expand each others’ personal and professional abilities. A state of flow is generated which facilitates a generally positive learning process, such that PL can be said to have its roots in positive psychology. PL draws on entrepreneurial training since it takes its departure explicitly in students’ own knowledge and experience. This strengthens the connection between codified (propositional) and personal knowledge, which according to Eraut are essential forms of knowledge for PC. In the meeting between students’ knowledge and experience a space of opportunity arises, in which action competence can be created and developed in relation to the demands and heuristic tasks of practice. Finally, it seems that when students interact in PL learning is internalized, and that the space of opportunity lays the foundation for an awareness of learning. Thereby students create and develop the ability to adapt and exchange both propositional and personal knowledge in a creative manner in the future. They gain an awareness of and ability for lifelong learning, which according to Eraut is essential to the development of PC.

Results and Findings: In summary the study concludes that PL contains crucial features for learning in practice, which can support students in developing PC. However, a tentative hypothesis is also advanced, based on the study’s discussion section, which may serve to inspire clinical guidance and further exploration: the features and potentials of PL demand that clinical advisors provide didactical structures based on the learning goals of the education in question.
SpecialisationDidactics and Professionalisation
Publication date28 May 2022
Number of pages49
ID: 471532097