AbstractPurpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of creative activity and storytelling in assisting development of students’ reflective ability and critical thinking. Design/methodology/approach – Eight biomedical science students undertaking year-long work-based placements took part in this action research study. A coding scheme was designed to assess students’ reflections initially and at each stage of the study. Intervention activities involved students using mood boards, images and storytelling to assist development of creative learning spaces with a thematic approach employed to analyse both personal and collective reflections. Post-intervention evaluation considered possible long-term impact on students’ reflective ability. Findings – Students’ pre-intervention reports showed little reflection focusing mainly on competence demonstration and descriptive situation summaries. During the intervention workshops, all students demonstrated both identification of self as a practitioner and a critically reflective approach. However, this was not maintained long term as initial post-intervention reports tended to revert to a more descriptive style of writing suggesting longer-term support is required. Research limitations/implications – The importance of further research into the long-term usefulness of creative collaborative learning spaces in work-based programmes is suggested. Originality/value – This is the first study investigating the approach to supporting critical reflection during work placement in biomedical scientists. It is suggested that the current competence-based training programme provides limited opportunities for developing and embedding critical reflection. Where opportunities are provided, such as creative learning spaces, students’ critical reflection was greatly enhanced. However, it appears essential that this approach is maintained throughout training as critically reflective skills developed during collaborative learning have limited transferability to subsequent reflective report writing.
CitationPractitioner capability 2014, 4 (3):284 Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning
JournalHigher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning