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How does the preceptor know where they need to be?

How does the preceptor know where they need to be?
This is the second session in the series of optimal outcome precepting, focusing on assessing student performance. The first session addressed the challenges of defining the learning outcomes that students needed to achieve and methods this the actual activities and assignments that would be required of students to achieve those outcomes. This session will focus on evaluating student achievement of outcomes. Last time we presented a workshop on six steps to becoming a super preceptor which was the foundation for this five sequence series on optimal outcome precepting. Just to remind you, the third element of being a super preceptor was to maintain an GPS system of tracking feedbacks. And that’s what we’re gonna be focusing on in today’s session.
Everything gets back to learning outcomes. Remember the identifying the target for learning is what defines the relationship between the preceptor and students. And it also determines the methods that students are used to learn, the content that are expected to learn. And as we’ll discuss in today’s session, the methods of assessment for determining how well the students are learning. First principle in this session is that student can’t get where they need to be if they don’t know where they are.
This relates to a simple question: how does the preceptor know where students need to be. Well this was largely addressed in the last session. We first illustrated that it’s important to identify the fundamentals of a rotation that students really need to master. How important that is to determine what they need to learn that defines the learning outcomes? Once we know what the learning outcomes are, instead of matter of establishing the methods to accomplish those learning outcomes. And in the last session in the first session we emphasize that it’s important that the methods cause students to think critically that learning depends on thinking.
And everything that we do, everything that we require students to do as part of a rotation should be focused on stimulating the students to think critically. We also identified as part of the goal for rotation, is that students need to be involved in hands-on activities. Not just thinking about what they need to learn. But actually involved in providing patient care and actively involved in pharmacy services. So it’s a hands-on real-world experience very different from learning in the classroom. And then lastly, we emphasized in the first session that students also need to be able to develop a motivation, to use what they’ve learned. Use the analogy of a basketball player.
It’s not enough for the basketball player to have the capacity to shoot the ball through the basket. That basketball player has to have the willingness to take the shot. So it’s important that students as they’re learning in an experiential rotation. They need to develop the confidence and the commitment to actually engage in what they’ve learnt. To perform the services that we provide benefits to patients and to the hospital. Why do we do assessment? What’s so important about it? Let me spend a moment discussion that because it is a very important consideration. I equate student assessment to a GPS system. I’m not talking about global positioning satellite. They will be used as an analogy.
I’m talking about guidance from preceptor to student. We’re talking about feedback that preceptors provide to students, to help them achieve the learning outcomes. Now initially, it helps students to understand what the destination is. I’ve got a garmin GPS system in my car. And when I use that system to help me find a destination or arrive at a destination when I’m driving. When I turn it on, the very first question I’m asked is where to. You can see that on the slide. Where to? I have to program in the destination. And once I program in the destination, that GPS system can provide me with feedback of how well I’m doing in my pursuit of that destination.
But it all begins with identifying what the destination is. Now the GPS system should also show students what it takes to achieve the learning outcomes. When I program a destination into my GPS system in the car, it provides me a route then would take me to the destination. And illustrates that route on my system with a thick purple line that shows the streets and the roads that I should take to get to the destination. So similarly, a good assessment system will provide students with a clear picture of the route that they need to take to achieve the learning outcomes. It also measures how well students have achieved the learning outcomes. We call this summative assessment.
It tells students where they are at any point in time in terms of achieving the learning outcomes. On my GPS car system, the system shows an arrow of where I am located at any point in time. That’s a summative assessment tells me where I’m located. But it also provides feedback which we could call formative feedback. The GPS system should provide feedback to students. Showing them what they need to do to improve in order to achieve the learning outcomes, the destination. When I drive off course, my GPS system shows me an arrow of where I’m located. And if I’ve driven off course then that arrow is not gonna be on the think purple route that it’s highlighted for me.
But what happens almost instantaneously, it gives me feedback to tell me I’m not on course to the destination. It prepares a new route, and illustrates that new route by a new purple line, a new purple path that I can then follow to achieve the destination. So similarly, when we’re assessing the performance of students, they need to know what the destination is. They need to know where they are at any point in time. And they need to know what route they need to take from where they are to get to the destination. If they veer off course, we need to help them develop a new route to achieve the destination.
Ultimately however, the GPS system can also provide valuable feedback to the preceptor. Because of students are constantly getting off course. They are not achieving the destination. That system of assessment can notify the preceptor about what he or she might need to do. To modify the rotation so students are more successful in achieving the outcomes and arriving at the destination.

Students can’t get where they need to be if they don’t know where they are.

Assessments are important to help students understand what the learning outcomes are and what it takes to achieve these outcomes. Both summative and formative assessments are used in precepting and in this video, Prof. Brown will first introduce the basic concept of the “GPS” framework.

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