Incorporating Reflection, Debriefing, Evaluation of Service Learning In Nursing Education

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Nursing Education and Incorporating Reflection, Debriefing, Evaluation of Service Learning

Incorporating Reflection, Debriefing, Evaluation of Service Learning In Nursing Education

Incorporating Reflection In Service Learning In Nursing Education, Debriefing In Nursing Education for Service Learning, Evaluation of Service Learning In Nursing Education.

Incorporating Reflection In Service Learning In Nursing Education

   Reflection is a critical and essential aspect of service learning that further differentiates it from volunteerism, community service activities, and nursing students' clinical experiences. Reflection is an active, persistent, thoughtful, and intentional consideration of the service activity. 

    Reflection must include the student's behavior, practice, and achievement. Within the reflective process, students must respond to basic questions such as “What am I doing?” “Why am I doing it?” and “What am I learning?” As well, they should critically examine their actions, feelings, and thoughts. 

   During this examination and while responding to the questions posed, students contemplate, think, reason, and speculate about their service experiences (Gillis & MacLellan, 2013). Reflection is a learning tool that serves to maximize students' highly individualized learning experiences by linking the service experiences with the learning objectives established for the course and curriculum. 

    Reflection combines cognitive and affective activities in a way that bridges the gap between the service experience and the course. Reflection also provides opportunities for students to improve their self-assessment skills and have insights that help build on their strengths. 

    Because reflection and self-assessment are skills that require development, many students new to service learning find faculty facilitation and journaling helpful with the reflective process (Gillis & MacLellan, 2013). Faculty responsibilities include designing reflection activities, coaching students during reflection, monitoring students' reflections, and providing feedback (Rama, 2001). 

    Faculty will also find a wealth of other information on reflection activities available on the Internet. Reflection is most effective when it is continuous, connected, contextual, and challenging. Continuous reflection involves reflection before, during, and after the service-learning experience. 

    Connecting service learning with classroom learning assists students to develop a conceptual framework for their service project and to apply concepts and theories learned in class to the experience. Reflection must be appropriate for the context and setting of the experience. 

    Some service learning experiences lend themselves to formal methods of reflection, such as written papers, whereas others are best suited to informal discussions. Formal or informal methods are used, reflection should challenge students to either think in new ways, question their assumptions, and formulate new understandings and new ways of problem solving (Rama, 2001). 

    Including service partners in the reflective dialogue enhances communication and increases the depth and breadth of learning . Without an emphasis on dialogue between individuals and community partners, reflection becomes one sided, focusing on the isolated views and perceptions of the individual student without coming to an understanding of each person's perspective (Rama, 2001). 

    Keen and Hall's (2009) study noted that this dialogue across boundaries of perceived differences that happened during the service experience and in reflection exercises was the core experience, not the service itself. One common approach to stimulate reflection is to have students keep a journal or engage in directed writing that faculty read and respond to frequently throughout the course. 

    Journals allow students to record thoughts, observations, feelings, activities, questions, and problems encountered and solved during the service-learning experience. If students are working on a service learning project as a team, a team journal can be used to promote interaction between team members on project related issues and to introduce students to different perspectives on the project (Rama, 2001). 

    The team concludes its work with a collective reflection on the service learning. Portfolios can be developed to organize materials related to the service learning project and document accomplishments and learning outcomes. 

    Other reflective activities include small-group discussions and presentations that relate the service experience to classroom concepts, introduce students to different perspectives, and challenge them to think critically about the service experience. It is helpful for faculty to pose a few questions to guide the discussion, but students should also be allowed to freely discuss and reflect on ideas and issues. 

    In such discussions students often disclose expectations and myths about the service experience. Themes that may emerge during reflections include social analysis of community needs and the importance of civic responsibility (Bailey et al., 2002). 

    A final reflective paper based on the writing done during the semester provides a comprehensive description of students' learning. Bringle and Hatcher's (1996) guidelines help clarify the nature of effective reflection activities in a service learning course. Effective reflection activities :

1. Link the service-learning experiences to the learning objectives.

2. They are designed, structured, and guided by faculty.

3. Are planned so that they occur across the span of service learning experience.

4. Allow faculty feedback and assessment of progress and learning.

5. Foster the clarification and exploration of values.

Debriefing In Nursing Education for Service Learning 

    Following the experience, debriefing is essential to reinforce classroom theory, allow students to share differing experiences, and reinforce the sense of solidarity that was developed. Debriefing adds to the intentional nature of the service experience and facilitates a dialogue between students who may have been placed in different locations throughout the community. 

    Debriefing can be combined with an evaluation of the service experience. Community partners can also be engaged in the debriefing experience and share their views of outcomes of the experience and what effect the service learning had on the agency in which the students served.

Evaluation of Service Learning In Nursing Education

    After the completion of service learning, the community partner, faculty, and students should evaluate the usefulness of the service project in meeting their needs, the strengths and areas for improvement of the service project, and student performance. Faculty should evaluate student outcomes and the contribution of the experience to overall curriculum goals. 

    Evaluation of students' achievement is based on the students' learning and not merely on their experience or participation in the service activities. Faculty, the agency supervisor, and students' self assessment provide the evaluation data. 

    Many faculty administer preservice and post service surveys that measure students' attitudes toward community service and civic responsibility and toward their coursework.

    Such instruments not only help faculty evaluate their students and assess the usefulness of service learning, but also help students see how much they have learned and how their attitudes may have changed because of their service-learning experience. In addition to the short term course evaluation, a systematic long-term follow-up of students helps determine any additional learning that may have occurred after the course is completed.

    The ultimate goal of providing opportunities for civic engagement, development of cultural competence, leadership, advocacy skills, and service learning in institutions of higher education and their schools of nursing is to develop a more caring society, foster advocacy for social justice, and increase the focus on global health care. 

    Students, schools, and the community benefit when service learning is a part of the curriculum. Service-learning experiences have the benefits of increasing retention of academic material and fostering global awareness and a sense of social responsibility within participants. 

    Following service learning experiences, students are often inspired to continue to work for social justice as engaged citizens in their communities. Although integration of service learning into the curriculum requires faculty development and thoughtful planning, service learning is a win–win–win situation for the college, the students, and the community.

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