As a leading academic, Lynn Clouder sees the benefit of theory and its impact on practice.
What stimulated your interest in practice education?
Years of seeing just how it transforms students into clinicians and meeting fantastic clinical educators whose input is so influential in shaping students’ future prospects. Practice provides the very richest of contexts for learning to become a professional. It is wrongly seen as secondary to more theoretical knowledge based learning that often does not stick until people see how to apply it in practice. I’m also fascinated with how people learn in informal, unplanned ways as well as in more formalised ones.
How can physios be encouraged to share their practice education experiences and carry out research?
Physiotherapists have a massive resource of tacit knowledge that they often don’t know they possess or could possibly make more time to share. There is great potential in sharing experiences. This is becoming more feasible with social networking that also allows students to get involved in conversations that they may not feel confident enough to do face-to-face. This type of sharing should become mainstream. People often see research as scary and outside of their scope. Yet, in terms of research potential, there are aspects of practice that we have all replicated for years just out of habit and without much in the way of evidence for whether or not it works. There is plenty of scope for anyone with some curiosity and a bit of encouragement to dip a toe in by conducting a pilot study that will promote confidence or alternatively by pursuing a professional doctorate that provides a bit more structure to get to grips with practice-based research.
Tell us more about your involvement with the National Association of Educators in Practice (NAEP)?
I am currently vice chair of the NAEP which is a free to join support network for educators in practice. It aims to ensure that education is grounded in practice across the allied health professions, midwifery, nursing and all health and social care professions. NAEP provides CPD opportunities through its annual conference and through its open access journal, newsletters and website where it shares and disseminates good practices, collaborative working and disseminates sources of information and expertise. Our numbers are growing and we have a thriving conference-going membership. NAEP is increasingly involved in policy matters and collaborates with other agencies to promote practice education which I think needs stronger advocacy.
You edit the International Journal of Practice-based Learning in Health and Social Care? Please tell us more
The journal is free to publish and free to read so is a resource for all clinical educators. We encourage submission of papers that investigate any aspect of practice-based learning, be it associated with students, colleagues or clients. The journal was originally hosted by the Higher Education Academy but has recently become a stand-alone open access journal. We publish two issues a year and have a growing archive of papers from a range of professions from around the world. We’ve got a rigorous peer review system but make every effort to support development of viable papers. The best aspect of being an editor is getting to know lots of really interesting people.
Any advice on submitting papers to the journal?
To access the journal log onto the website and register as a reader. See what types of research colleagues are writing about to get a feel for the journal. A good way to develop writing skills is to read more but also to be a reviewer of papers. You can sign up for that too and we will make sure that you are teamed up with a more experienced reviewer and receive feedback on your reviews. If you’ve got an idea for writing a paper and would like to sound out if it’s likely to fit the journal’s scope email me and we can talk it through. fl
Dr Lynn Clouder is professor of professional education and director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning Enhancement at Coventry University Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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