Students often ask for a study guide before an exam. What better way than to have them create one! 📝
Note-taking is not something that students will do often once they leave the college classroom. However, what is important is the skill of taking in information, processing it, restructuring it and making it one’s own so that others or one’s future self can understand what in the world is going on.
Divide students into small groups. They could be as large as 8 students. Assign each group a content area that is covered on the exam. Give the students a time limit to work independently. This can be 20 minutes or over the course of a few days if you are in an online course.
Give them a framework. It could be bullet points or a more structured chart. You could ask them to develop the bullet points according to the nursing process for a certain condition. Then have them write 1-2 practice questions independently. Have the student write a short paragraph with rationales. They should explain the correct answer but also why the other answers are incorrect. This piece is essential! The rationales provide the most support for the learner.
Then have them come together in their small groups - using either Google Hangouts or whatever video conference platform you prefer - and have them work together to review and critique each other’s questions.
Once their questions are written and peer-reviewed, they are submitted/shared with the instructor for feedback. You could give real-time written feedback in the form of comments or join their small group video conference to give verbal feedback. You should be looking to move them past knowledge based questions. Rather than “What is a sign of hyperkalemia?” they should reframe it to focus on the nurse - “The nurse is caring for a patient with hyperkalemia, what assessment finding is most important?” Encourage them to include the assessment findings rather than stating the patient is hyperkalemic. Entry-level students or those who have not written questions before will need guidance to move towards application and analysis.
Once all of the questions have been written and reviewed by the instructor, compile them in whatever format you choose. This could be a simple word document with an answer key or a quizzing format like Socrative. Whichever method you choose, be sure students have access to the answer key.
Choose a more specific theme that students are struggling with mastering. It could be prioritization, delegation, or math calculations. This laser-focus can make it easier for them to develop questions.
You could also use Kahoot as a delivery method. During one class period, students would write and you would review the questions. For next week’s class, you could input them into Kahoot for an educational way to start the class.
When you have large chunks of time. This activity could use an entire class period or a week’s worth of online collaboration. It should not be used as a quick activity.
Note taking is an essential skill in the college classroom. Students should be able to review information, restructure what was taught and put it into their own words. The group creation of a study guide can be awesome motivation.
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Share the content area and any variations that you did that made it awesome!
Sometimes in the rush of content to cover and meds to pass, it can be easy to forget how new our students are to the world of nursing. Many of them have not worked with patients before. They do not know the culture of the nurse's station. One of the rules of Disney Imagineering is to "tell one story at a time." Try to slow the day with students, create and build on one story at a time.