Enhancing meaningful learning and self-efficacy through collaboration between dental hygienist and physiotherapist students – a scholarship project

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Introduction:Within the field of Dental Hygiene (DH) and Physiotherapy (PT), students are taught to use an evidence-based approach. Educators need to consider the nature of evidence-based practice from the perspective of content knowledge and learning strategies. Such effort to seek best available evidence and to apply a systematic and scholarly approach to teaching and learning is called scholarship of teaching and learning. Objectives: To evaluate the application of the scholarship model including an evidence-based approach to enhance meaningful learning and self-efficacy among DH and PT students. Methods: Based on the research on student learning, three central theories were identified (constructivism, meaningful learning and self-efficacy). These were applied in our context to support learner engagement and the application of prior knowledge in a new situation. The DH students performed an oral health examination on the PT students, and the PT students performed an individual health test on the DH students; both groups used motivational interviewing. Documentation of student's learning experience was carried out through seminars and questionnaires. Results: The students were overall satisfied with the learning experience. Most appreciated are that it reflected a ‘real’ professional situation and that it also reinforced important learning from their seminars. Conclusion: The scholarship model made the teachers aware of the importance of evidence-based teaching. Furthermore, the indicators for meaningful learning and increased self-efficacy were high, and the students became more engaged by practising in a real situation, more aware of other health professions and reflected about tacit knowledge.

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