The path to transformation, navigating the barriers to forming the transient and the transitional learning groups in interprofessional education

Gurbutt, Dawne and Milne, Paul (2018) The path to transformation, navigating the barriers to forming the transient and the transitional learning groups in interprofessional education. In: INTED 2018, March, 2018, Valencia, Spain.

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The creation of a new medical school provided new opportunities to develop interprofessional education (IPE) with a pedagogic basis in transformational learning. The programme involved some transient groups – medical students working with different professional groups throughout the year and some learning interventions which proved to be transitional for students in intended and sometimes unintended ways. The path to transformational learning in interprofessional education requires the navigation of different perspectives and beliefs about learning, an element of tenacity and bravery in relation to holding to core pedagogic beliefs and an openness to co-production and evolution of learning elements.
Some learning episodes formed a transformative space within a particular time bounded location whilst others led to ongoing relationships and social connections beyond the classroom. Feedback indicated that transformation is not always comfortable or linear for students and the programme identified areas of challenge for both learners and staff as well as opportunities for development and co-creation.
This was a large IPE initiative involving staff and students from 9 disciplines across 7 schools and 3 faculties with involvement from service users and stakeholders. The programme incorporated almost 2000 separate student learning episodes. This paper will consider the programme from the perspective of students, creators of the learning elements and participatory staff from different disciplines, exploring the challenges, gains and learning from the initiative.
In considering these we suggest that social learning paradigms can help to give insight into their solution. For example, the intended and unintended outcomes could be considered through the perspectives of an integrated social learning paradigm. From the empirical data it is suggested that the paradigms of Activity theory and Complex adaptive systems theory give insight to how intended and unintended transformative learning takes place. These are inter-related as shown in the diagram.
Using complex adaptive system theory as part of the activity system theory paradigm, the inter-relationship between the components of the suggested social learning paradigm may be viewed as complex with any one component able to take precedent over the other.
It is suggested that the unintended transformative learning and the social connections established outside the classroom arose as a result of the mixed student professionals’ classroom moving through a process of having become a ‘self-organising system’. The students have spontaneously produced a system that could not have been predicted from ‘a knowledge of the previous state’ (i.e. the facilitated teaching session).
Analysis of the empirical data through the lens of social learning theories gives insight into the ‘how and why’ transformative learning takes place and might help to plan IPE sessions with greater confidence.

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