Sharon Johnson

The Effects of Interactive Learning Strategies on Clinical Performance Among On-Campus Junior BSN Nursing Students


Sharon T. Johnson, PhD, RN, FCN
Clinical Assistant Professor
Lead Instructor, Clinical Nursing Foundations
College of Nursing and Health Innovation

First year junior nursing students tend to have more difficulty utilizing reflective reasoning which facilitates the critical thinking process, and ultimately priority setting in clinical practice.  Determining which active learning modalities would be most effective in improving critical thinking and clinical decision making supports Kolb’s theory regarding the concepts of student engagement and interactive learning.  Through the evaluation of different active learning methods, nursing faculty would be able to identify gaps of knowledge regarding students’ clinical performance along with improving the cognitive process of learning and student success.  Therefore, the use of active learning strategies could result in the implementation of pedagogic changes in order to enhance student engagement and retention of course content as well as the connection between theory and clinical practice.  For this reason, learning analytics would be useful in identifying the effectiveness of interactive educational strategies concerning clinical performance in pre-licensure Junior nursing students.

The study procedures include implementing active learning methods such as virtual simulation (vSim) patient scenarios and other game-based learning platforms (e.g. Kahoot) where percentage scores are acquired to determine the effectiveness of each instructional method regarding theory and/or experiential learning.  The first clinical performance assessment (computer-driven high fidelity simulations) is completed by faculty and/or peer evaluations through direct observations of the students’ ability to make safe clinical decisions regarding patient care.  The second evaluation method for clinical performance is completed by standardized patients participating in the medication administration simulation lab.  Each standardized patient evaluates students’ on the process of safe medication administration practices.  Then data for each interactive learning method will be analyzed to determine the overall effects on the students’ clinical performance.

Due to the organization of the course content and learning experiences for this Junior 1 nursing course, data are currently being collected and analyzed.  Therefore, preliminary results for clinical performance revealed that first year Junior nursing students have challenges with recognizing nursing practices related to proper identification of patient health issues and health care prioritization for improving patient outcomes.  Demonstrating the proper procedure and/or usage of equipment when administering injectable medications (e.g. heparin and insulin) were also identified as areas requiring improvement.  Despite these results, the game-based interactive learning data revealed, students were capable of comprehending majority of the key concepts related to nursing practice and patient care.