Significant learning environments

Today’s learners that are accepted into the respiratory care program vary from the ages of 18 to 60+. Either they took dual credit courses in high school to receive all their pre-requisites to apply for the program or they already had a prior bachelor’s, associate’s, and/or career and starting over. Most of my students are in their mid 20s though. They have went to an university and decided it wasn’t for them so they are looking for a different field. What I see in my younger learners versus the older ones is a huge difference in learning. My older learners would like for you to physically stand up in front of the classroom and go through every slide as  they take notes like I did in college. My younger students are not as intrigued by a physical lecture. When, I tried pear deck and kept it interactive they really engaged in the lecture. 

Throughout, this course I have learned new ways to engage the younger learner as well as involve the older ones. I believe we need to reach them in a different way. Engagement with peer to peer learning and technology involves the younger students and also, teaches the older ones how to utilize their resources. When reading the book A New Culture of Learning they spoke on collectives “In communities, people learn in order to belong, in a collective, people belong in order to learn” (Thomas & Brown, 2011). My students will be working in collectives I have chose through my innovation plan.   My plan is to implement E-portfolios for my entire program 1st and 2nd year returning students in the Fall of 2019.  They will be utilizing this to reflect on clinical days, projects, and for ease of feedback from me. Also, it will be a great tool to take with them post-graduation as a resume. 

A simulation is a method of training or research that attempts to create a realistic experience in a controlled environment. http://www.sgh.com.sg

I currently touch on peer to peer learning environments in simulation, but I would like to utilize it more. To the left you will see my respiratory students teaching nursing students how to properly place oxygen on a patient and at what percent and liter flow. Our specialty is to know the precise amount it will affect the oxygen to brain and tissues. We do this once a year with the nursing students to give them a better understanding of oxygen and ventilator needs before they graduate. It also, allows my students to prepare and learn while they teach. My first year students observe and learn as well. I would like to use my E-portfolios to allow a younger learner with an older learner to allow each of them to learn something from the other. My students get into health care for different reasons one is because they had a family member that was sick in the past and they met the respiratory therapist other is they wanted a life change, or they had all their pre-requisites and this was a fit for them. 

In Douglas Thomas’s video A New Culture of Learning he spoke on passion, imagination, and constraint. Constraint really stuck in my mind when I think of my students. We really push them to critically think. You must be a critical thinker to be a Great Respiratory Therapist. You have to think on your feet and be able to perform in a high intense work environment. Therefore, when he said “it would drive an architect crazy if you gave them a flat surface, but give them an obstacle with hills and mountains that they can work around they would love” (retrieved from 
https://youtu.be/lM80GXlyX0U).   I push my students to learn this way. Nothing is this easy or simple in respiratory care. We need you to see beyond the flat surface and go through all of the obstacles. Therefore, I have built in simulation based learning into the program to provide that. In simulation they no little of what might happen before entering the room. They knock on the door and the patient might be in distress or it might be a routine situation. But, you must handle the situation as you would in the hospital. I have one student act as a family member therefore, they can learn from the other students mistakes or how to do it correctly. We tell our students we would rather you make mistakes here and learn, than make them in the hospital. We always debrief with the students individually to ensure no one feels intimidated from another student. They all learn from one another and the manikin can almost do everything a human does. 

I believe that we need to think more broadly about our learning with our students. We cannot assume that standing up in front of a class going through each sentence or bullet point is going to reach our learners. We as educators need to plan for the incoming students who know nothing but a cell phone, tablet, or computer at the end of their finger tips. Many of my students have no idea how to use a index or glossary when I ask them to look something up but when they have their phone they know in seconds. I have implemented quizlet to review for unit exams and my students test scores have improved from last year to this year. They seem to enjoy it and it gets them to work in groups. I like to see them compete as well. 

My program director has allowed me to chose the way I would like to educate my students a this moment as long as I hit the points. So far simulation has pushed our national board passing rate to it’s highest ever and students are utilizing their critical thinking skills more. I am hoping once I roll out my E-Portfolios it will be successful as well. I also, am hoping that my process and motivation will catch on with the other instructors in my building to help engage their learners as well. I think if you make learning fun, then you will have students word of mouth spreading to incoming students to your program. Always stay positive and engage your learner! 


Mack. P. (2009). Understanding simulation based learning. retrieved from 

           https://www.sgh.com.sg/Education/Institute-for-Medical-Simulation-   and-Education/Documents/SimulationBasedLearning.pdf

Thomas, D. (2012, Sept. 12) A new culture of learning. retrieved
    from: https://youtu.be/lM80GXlyX0U

Thomas, D. & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of  constant change. Printed by CreateSpace.