Critical discourse analysis of interprofessional online learning experience of healthcare professionals in asynchronous text-based computer mediated conferencing within higher education
Author(s)Loke, Jennifer C. F.
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AbstractAim: This study was to evaluate the existing practices of post-qualifying interprofessional learning (IPL) in asynchronous computer mediated conferencing (ACMC). It was underpinned by my desire as a nurse educator to challenge the established assumptions of the role of this technology – ACMC– as a pedagogic tool in achieving the goals of IPL. Background: In the current healthcare education climate of the United Kingdom, there is a strong desire to meet the government's agenda for IPL in higher education. Healthcare educators are increasingly utilising ACMC as a pedagogic tool to engage students in asynchronous text-based IPL. The technology may be a promising pedagogic means for achieving effective interprofessional online learning (IPOL); its benefits cannot be taken at face value, particularly for IPOL at post-qualifying level which involves nurses. Method: This study used Fairclough's version of critical discourse analysis (CDA), a 'three-dimensional' analytical framework to examine the discourse generated by 13 nursing and non-nursing healthcare professionals during their IPOL in the academic year 2004-2005 in a northern university in England. The aim was to map the analysis of the conference texts with the discursive events in IPOL and also with nurses' discursive practice in healthcare in relation to power and ideology. Findings: In contrast to a large amount of didactic, restrictive and limited learning, constructivist and collaborative learning were minimal. This learning which contributed to students' IPOL experiences highlighted the issues of nurses' use of a dominating nursing language, as represented in clinical nursing practice. Conclusion: Based on the attributes of students' IPOL experiences, recommendations are provided such that nurses' language use may be adjusted and healthcare education policies and service may be improved, in order to facilitate post-qualifying IPL in ACMC. These recommendations are based on a plausible explanation of student IPOL experiences and future research studies using a wide range of research methods are proposed.