BACKGROUND: Traditional ways of teaching in Higher Education are enhanced with adult-based approaches to learning within the curriculum. Adult-based learning enables students to take ownership of their own learning, working in independence using a holistic approach. Introducing creative activities promotes students to think in alternative ways to the traditional learning models. The study aimed to explore student midwives perceptions of a creative teaching method as a learning strategy.
RESEARCH DESIGN: A qualitative design was used adopting a phenomenological approach to gain the lived experience of students within this learning culture.
PARTICIPANTS: Purposive sampling was used to recruit student midwives (n=30).
METHODS: Individual interviews were conducted using semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions to gain subjective information. Data were transcribed and analyzed into useful and meaningful themes and emerging themes using Colaizzi's framework for analyzing qualitative data in a logical and systematic way. Over 500 meaningful statements were identified from the transcripts.
FINDINGS: Three key themes strongly emerged from the transcriptions. These included'meaningful learning','inspired to learn and achieve', and 'being connected'. A deep meaningful learning experience was found to be authentic in the context of theory and practice. Students were inspired to learn and achieve and positively highlighted the safe learning environment. The abilities of the facilitators were viewed positively in supporting student learning. This approach strengthened the relationships and social engagement with others in the peer group and the facilitators. On a less positive note, tensions and conflict were noted in group work and indirect negative comments about the approach from the teaching team.
CONCLUSIONS: Incorporating creative teaching activities is a positive addition to the healthcare curriculum. Creativity is clearly an asset to the range of contemporary learning strategies. In doing so, higher education will continue to keep abreast of the needs of graduating students in a complex and rapidly changing professional environment.