Building life-long learning capacity in undergraduate nursing freshmen within an integrative and small group learning context

Vico C.L. Chiang*, Sharron S.K. Leung, Caroline Y.Y. Chui, Angela Y.M. Leung, Y. W. Mak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Life-long learning involves the development of skills in critical thinking (CT), effective group process (GP), and self-directedness (SDL). Recent studies have shown that small group learning with active interactions is effective in enabling students to develop themselves as independent learners beyond graduation. With a view to integrative learning, the purpose of this study was to evaluate life-long learning outcomes through the work of small group teaching and learning for a class of undergraduate nursing freshmen during one academic year.

Methods: A mixed-methods approach was used to evaluate the CT, GP and SDL of 99 freshmen with a self-assessment questionnaire before and after their learning activities in three nursing courses, and to identify themes from a total of six focus group interviews with the students and teachers.

Results: The CT, GP and SDL results obtained from self-assessment did not indicate significant differences. Four themes emerged from the qualitative analysis.

Discussion: Many factors contributed to the results on life-long learning skill development of students in this study. The qualitative analysis provided good insights for future teaching and learning development.

Conclusions: With a developmental perspective, life-long learning may be better developed and evaluated over a longer period of time in the nursing program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1184-1191
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number10
Early online date5 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education

User-Defined Keywords

  • Group process
  • Nursing students
  • Problem-based learning
  • Small group learning
  • Thinking


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