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Transferring knowledge into practice? Exploring the feasibility of action learning for improving knowledge, skills and confidence in clinical communication skills.

Dowson, J (2019) Transferring knowledge into practice? Exploring the feasibility of action learning for improving knowledge, skills and confidence in clinical communication skills. BMC Medical Education, 19 (1). ISSN 1472-6920

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Open Access URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12909-019-1467-4 (Published version)


BACKGROUND: Effective communication between patients and practitioners is fundamental to the delivery of high-quality care. This is particularly important in the complex and challenging nature of working in palliative and end of life care. Following specialist communication skills training, a group of healthcare professionals explored the impact of action learning (AL) on the perceptions of their knowledge, skills and confidence in communication skills. The research also aimed to establish an evidence base by exploring the nature and impact of the AL approach employed to facilitate improvements in professional practice. METHODS: The research employed a mixed methods approach. Learners (n = 57) scored their perceptions in key areas of communication skills through questionnaires as a baseline measure at time point T0. From this group, 12 participants were selected to undertake further follow-up, divided into Control (n = 6) and Intervention arms (n = 6). All repeated the same questionnaire at 3 subsequent time points (T1, T2, T3) scheduled monthly. Half also received additional telephone-coaching conversation intervention based on Weber's TLA® critical and reflexive approach (2014). To explore and assess perceptions, similarities and differences of their experience of undertaking the specific AL approach and processes, all completed participants (n = 4) and coaches (n = 2) were interviewed at time point T4 (33% response rate). Quantitative data from questionnaires was analysed for comparison of variables to provide a visual illustration of perceived learning journeys. Qualitative data from coaching conversations, interviews and questionnaire responses was analysed inductively to create final themes. RESULTS: Perceived improvements in knowledge, skills and confidence measured at 35% at time point T0, and improvement of 46% reported at time point T3. In the Control arm this was calculated at 25%, and at 67% from the Intervention arm. Findings indicate encouraging evidence for perceived improvements of knowledge, skills and confidence. CONCLUSIONS: The research demonstrates a positive appetite for, and experience of, the process and method. The value of such a solution-focused, critically reflexive AL practice suggests this may act as a facilitator for successful transfer of learning into practice for individuals and their organisations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy, 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Liverpool Business School
Publisher: BioMed Central
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2019 11:58
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:41
DOI or ID number: 10.1186/s12909-019-1467-4
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10238
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