Pedagogical design of IPE Curriculum















Built on sound pedagogical approaches and instructional strategies based on adult learning theories, the OIPE has designed the IPE courses to foster development in the complex roles of each of the professions.  All of the learning activities within the courses (role play, world café, simulation) have been designed to promote interaction, communication and group process skills that are highly relevant to interprofessional practice. The pedagogical approaches are consistent with best practices in IPE by virtue of being applicable to real life situations, being active and participatory and addressing relevant competencies (Barr, 2002; Barr, Kopel, Reeves, Hammick, & Freeth, 2005; Hean, Craddock & O’Halloran, 2009; Leigh & Hurst, 2008; Newton & Wood, 2009; VanSoeren, Devlin-Cop, MacMillan, Baker, Egan-Lee, & Reeves, 2011).

The IPE curriculum is grounded on principles of constructivism including socio-cultural constructivism in which learning results from the student’s interaction with the instructional environment comprising the instructional activities and the interprofessional (social) groups or community of learners. The socio-cultural environment enables students to appreciate alternative and consistent views and perspectives on client care from various healthcare perspectives which in turn fosters reflection of their own knowledge and professional philosophies (Hean et al., 2009). The socio-cultural environment creates a sense of collective belonging to the healthcare community thereby fostering a cohesive vision for patent and family centred care, inherent in all the case-based contexts. In addition, social collaborative problem solving fosters personal interpretation and reflection on learning and facilitates a shift in the learner role from a passive recipient to that of explorer, producer, communicator, and collaborator (Driscoll, 2005; Greeno, Collins & Resnick, 1996; Mayer 1999; Vygotsky 1978). Given that the students will spend their professional careers collaborating and working with clients, families and other members of the health care team, learning within a socio-cultural context is imperative.

Knowledge is also constructed as students are active participants in the instructional activities, both prior to the IPE activity and during. The constructive cognitive process is triggered through selected instructional methods (e.g. case-based contexts, self-directed on-line modules followed by reflective written responses, interactive group discussions and simulation centre experiences). Active learning is enhanced by matching learning needs to: a) the instructional context (interactive seminar, small group interactions, simulation) b) the activity (e.g. role play, problem solving through group rotation, reflective discussions, simulation with standardized patients and professionals); c) the learning outcomes of each IPE activity. This, in turn, highlights the behaviourist learning theory with a focus on IPE competencies and an evaluation process to assess the outcomes of student learning following the implementation of each IPE course (Hean et al., 2009). A standardized on-line evaluation is implemented following each IPE course to assess the student’s perception of their learning and attainment of the learning outcomes and their satisfaction of the IPE instructional activities. For certain sessions that involved faculty or clinical facilitators, students are also asked to provide feedback on the facilitator’s performance in leading the debriefing sessions.

Since 2014, IPEA 500, IPEA 501 and IPEA 502 were approved and established as required coursework in the first and second years of the undergraduate and graduate programs of the professional schools in the Faculty of Medicine. Each half-day IPEA course gives students a unique opportunity to learn from, with, and about each other’s profession (Pardue, 2015). Students build on their prior knowledge of role clarification, communication, team functioning and client-centred perspectives. Small group debriefing sessions to promote reflection on learning are facilitated by trained clinicians and faculty members.  Co-facilitation by two different healthcare professionals is implemented to model and foster interprofessional communication and collaboration.


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