Monday, April 27, 2015

Practice based learning

Was at the optometrist, at the hospital.   With the optometrist was a doctor, a Specialist Registrar, undertaking ophthalmological training.  They were introduced as an observer, but in fact the optometrist asked several questions as the various tests were done.   What did they notice about what just happened (eye movement, for example)?   Did they notice a particular phenomenon?  What did that phenomenon mean?   And there were explanations, although some longer ones were obviously being saved for later, after I had left.

It is a side effect of being a medical librarian that visits to hospitals are fascinating.   Thank goodness that those visits have not been for me life threatening or life changing.  (Although a visit last year after a fight with a tramline was possibly more potentially life changing than I realised at the time, and it was still fascinating because I had no real idea while I was there what had happened and how I had got there, and no real thought at the time about how much more serious it could have been.  That thought has only come later).

But this one was fascinating for another reason.  It was interesting observing the observer, and observing the teaching (or facilitation of learning, if you would rather).

Would that method work for medical librarians?   The observer did not administer any of the tests, but they did observe and have to understand enough to answer the questions.  What did just happen?   What does it mean?    Could we just demonstrate searching techniques, say, and then ask about it?   Maybe it is preferable to get people doing active things, but if you have to teach a session using a search demonstration (because you are in a seminar room, for example), there are lessons here.  Perhaps later in the day, the observer got to administer the tests, of course that I will never know,

Two thoughts to end.  Interesting that -
- the one asking the questions and the one answering were not from the same professional group, and perhaps interesting that the one answering was a doctor and the one asking was an allied health professional (this may just show how out of date I am, although it is an example of interprofessional learning);

- the observer was not there to comment on the behaviour and technique of the other, as would happen if you went to the GP and a medical student was examining you.

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