Active Learning with professional learners


Author(s) Beth Griffiths


The programme that I manage is a postgraduate certificate in non-medical prescribing. It is accredited by three professional bodies. The professional/academic award brings a significant change in the registrants practice. It allows a registrant from pharmacy, nursing or allied health to be able to prescribe drugs which is traditionally exclusive to the medical profession. Working with many different professionals poses a challenge for the classroom. There are not only multiple disciplines, also they have different abilities, and different scopes of practice within a variety of clinical areas. Their learning styles and experience of the classroom is also very varied and as with all students, their expectations are ever increasing. Addressing all of these issues is managed through a predominantly active learning strategy. ‘Active learning increases students’ retention and comprehension of the course material. It utilises the students’ data and knowledge base of their field of practice. Students have an opportunity to provide personal insights and interpretation (develop their own answers). The process allows students to experiment with ideas, to develop concepts, and to integrate concepts into systems.’ Research shows that it positively affects the attitude of students toward self and peers in the learning process. Active learning develops social experiences between students, and between teacher and students. It enables the building of a community within the classroom, which is the foundation of a future network that supports the registrant in their prescribing practice. It provides an inclusive learning environment within a potentially exclusive environment where there could be professional competition.


I will use pictures on slides to tell the audience how I have used active learning tools in the classroom. Within the 5 minutes I will explain how these tools have provided an inclusive learning proactive environment using examples of different techniques. I think it will be of interest to delegates who have multiple disciplines within their modules/programmes. It is also very useful for post registration modules as it takes account of the prior knowledge and expertise that can be brought to the classroom. Active learning methods are always very well evaluated by the students (professional learners) and they have commented that it is one of the best things about this very challenging programme. Sharing this experience should help others feel able to experiment, and have confidence to let the professional learner bring their expertise for use in the classroom. It does not require rigid lesson planning, but the ability to be reactive and reflexive is essential. I am relatively new to teaching in higher education and did not anticipate that these teaching methods would be effective or useful. I anticipated that I would ‘deliver’ knowledge and information to students from my experience as a practitioner, but making use of the professional learners knowledge and balancing the expertise in the classroom have made these tools an essential component of this programme. I had not considered this as an innovation, but I have been asked to share my experience with colleagues and hence my application for this lightening session.

Key Words

Multidisciplinary, Active Learning, Professional Awards

Key Messages

Active learning strategies do work. Active learning is student focused Professional learners like active learning


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s