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Help students hit the ground running

In June 2018, Pauline Morgan, course leader for Nurse Education, asked Learning Technologies for support in delivering a six-week pre-arrival course for new trainee nursing associates. 

It had become apparent that the different arrival routes – through vocational workplaces as well as traditional UCAS entry – meant that students didn’t always start the course with the same expectations or indeed the same experiences. 

In particular, this meant that some students struggled with study skills, especially writing, and Pauline wanted to find a way that students could be eased into the demands of academic writing and therefore hit the ground running when they started the course. 

The collaboration between teams was a great experience. The course team asked for something that would be interactive, fun and engaging. The instructional design team, as well as learning a lot about human anatomy, had the chance to try out exciting new H5P activities, which would deliver on those requirements. 

The nursing team used some SLTI seed funding to ask existing students what they would have liked, using focus groups and a questionnaire. Those same students then evaluated those resources once they had been made, and gave feedback for improvement, creating an action research loop. 

There were a number of immediate benefits to the pre-arrival course. 

First of all, it allowed students to see what’s available at Solent and what teaching is like, making them excited about joining and keeping them keen to study.

It also prepared students well for what it would be like once they started at Solent and get them used to the online environment, as the nursing lecturers use SOL a lot in teaching and expect students to do quizzes in lectures.

The concept of learning online supported flipped class teaching once the course began, allowing lecturers to look at how students have engaged and thereby judging the best level for pitching lectures, as well as to check understanding.

Finally, as students are only in university on one day a week, having the pre-arrival course built their confidence and instilled in them the ability to interact with online resources, promoting autonomy and responsibility in learning right from the start.

If you would like to talk about what’s possible, drop us an email at  instructional.design@solent.ac.uk