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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

 

The Association of critical thinking and problem solving in Chinese nursing students

Dr Agnes Fung Yee Tiwari, Dr Kwan Hok Yuen.


Seventy-eight first year nursing students participated in this study, during which forty of the students were randomly assigned to receive problem-based learning (PBL) for a two-semester nursing course while the remaining thirty-eight students received the traditional lecture method. The students’ critical thinking was measured before and after the intervention using the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI). Based on the CCTDI results, students were selected for individual interview before and after the intervention. During the interview, each student was presented with a problem situation and their problem solving approach was assessed. Also, in the post-intervention interview, each student was asked to describe his/her learning experience.

The results showed that students with a comparatively strong disposition to critical thinking and who were in the PBL group demonstrated obvious to marked improvement in their problem solving approach. Interestingly, students with a comparatively strong disposition to critical thinking and who were in the lecture group demonstrated some to no improvement in their problem solving approach ability. Students with a comparatively weaker disposition to critical thinking demonstrated no to some improvement in their problem solving approach irrespective of whether they were in the PBL or lecture group.

Interestingly, when the students’ descriptions of their learning experience were analysed using a developmental phenomenographic approach, a complex picture of the students’ characteristics (in terms of critical thinking), learning experience, and learning outcome (in terms of problem solving approach) emerged. It was shown that students’ perceptions of their own learning experience affected their problem solving approach, however, the effect was related in some instances to their critical thinking disposition. For example, students with a strong disposition to critical thinking, who were in the PBL group and who perceived their learning experience to be active, improved substantially in their problem solving approach. On the other hand, students with a strong disposition to critical thinking, who were in the lecture method group and who perceived their learning experience to be passive, made little or no improvement in their problem solving approach. Furthermore, students with a weaker disposition to critical thinking, who perceived their learning to be passive, made little or no improvement irrespective of whether they were in the PBL or lecture method group.

Presenters

Dr Agnes Fung Yee Tiwari  (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China)
Assistant Professor
Department of Nursing Studies
The University of Hong Kong

Aggi Tiwari is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nursing Studies of the University of Hong Kong. She is a registered nurse and has been involved in the education of nursing students at the undergraduate and postgraduate level in the UK and Hong Kong. Years of educating nursing students and observing them progress from novice to competent practitioner has aroused her curiosity about how students learn and what impact education has on student's development. Staring from a simple beginning of measuring students' critical thinking and comparing it with students in other cultural groups, she has developed her studies further to include evaluation of problem-based learning on the development of critical thinking, the linkage between critical thinking and problem solving, and the medicating effects of student's perception of learning on the development of critical thinking and problem solving. The participants in her studies are Chinese nursing students who have come through a traditional, didactic and examination oriented educational system. With a firm belief that learning environment rather than student characteristic influences the way that student learns, she has sought to provide empirical evidence on the complexity of the process and outcome of student learning.


Dr Kwan Hok Yuen  (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China)
Teaching Consultant
Department of Nursing Studies
The University of Hong Kong

Dr. Yuen is a teaching consultant in the Department of Nursing Studies, the University of Hong Kong. Qualified as a general and mental health nurse, he has been a nurse educator for over twenty years, in the UK, Australia and Hong Kong. His main research interest is in student learning. His latest studies are in peer tutoring and problem solving.

Keywords
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Problem Based Learning
  • Students’ Perceptions Of Learning



(30 min Conference Paper, English)