Lt: Improving outcomes in a challenging environment
Otago Polytechnic’s School of Nursing is renowned for producing highly skilled graduates that are in demand nationally and internationally due to their knowledge, professionalism, and work-readiness.
But five years ago, a national trend of declining enrolments in the high-school leaver demographic threatened the School’s enrolment numbers. According to Linda Kinniburgh, Head of the School of Nursing (2006-2016), the School decided to modernize its teaching methods by using digital technology to deliver an immersive learning curriculum that would appeal to young learners.
"We could see technology was changing the world and I knew we had to change the way we were teaching. If we weren’t innovative in our teaching we’d get left behind and we’d lose our students. We didn’t want the wider downward trend to affect us."
“We wanted to be future focused and to turn out students that are prepared for the modern working environment, and that’s one of the reasons we began using Lt.”
– Linda Kinniburgh, Head of School of Nursing (2006-2016)
Linda knew the School needed to incorporate active learning and digital technology as part of an immersive teaching strategy. Research has shown that immersive learning - which offers learners a mix of theoretical and practical education – results in improved knowledge and skills. And that’s where Lt came in.
Effectively delivering active learning
Lt is a cloud-based learning platform that bridges the gap between theory and practice. Pedagogically designed to stimulate active learning, Lt has over 300 fully editable life science lessons created by a specialized team of instructional designers. Additionally, educators can create, customize, and deliver their own content using Lt’s modern tools and features. Lt also provides the unique ability for students to record and analyze their own physiological signals using hardware teaching kits, engaging students with a hands-on learning experience.
Created specifically for nursing and healthcare courses, Lt’s Immersive Nursing Collection delivers real-life patient case studies via the Patient Case Library. Students gain intimate access to a real patient’s story through videos, interviews, clinical data and medical records. The collection also includes experiments, exercises, quizzes, video interviews, audio, images and diagrams, providing the perfect complement to simulation.
Increasing bioscience engagement and pass rates
Linda says, “Lt appealed immediately because it was a modern, streamlined way to deliver lessons and information to our learners in an engaging way. Over the last three years Lt has helped us to change to an exciting, interactive, different way of teaching and that’s important to our staff and to the students.”
Within the School of Nursing the area that has experienced the greatest turnaround in student engagement and pass rates with Lt’s help is Bioscience. Linda notes, “We needed to change the way we were teaching science, particularly. We knew we had to move away from the old, didactic way of teaching to a more interactive way of doing things.”
Bioscience lecturer, Kimberly Smith, has embraced Lt’s interactive and immersive pedagogy. Using Lt has liberated her teaching experience, giving Kimberly the freedom to create and structure lessons in a much different way than she would have traditionally.
“Lt helps me turn the classroom into an interactive, practical space. For me, that’s the way I need to teach.”
– Kimberly Smith, Bioscience Lecturer
Saving teachers time and effort
Lt’s modern interface and tools for easy customization have also improved efficiency by reducing the amount of time Kimberly spends preparing for classes and adapting lessons. It has streamlined the process of updating course content at the start of each year.
“Lt has been really easy for me to use,” Kimberly says. “I’ve been able to organize the lessons and teaching modules in a way that I wanted them to be, in a logical order. I’ve been able to put key information in places where it’s really obvious for the students. It’s really easy to go back and make updates and changes as new research comes out and I can make adjustments really easily. It saves a lot of time.”
Enhancing student satisfaction and results
And the feedback from students has been resoundingly positive. Kimberly says, “Students really love the lessons in Lt, and they enjoy their time in the face to face teaching sessions and tutorials that we have. They come to class more prepared and better able to have robust discussions. The students definitely see the benefit.”
Third year Bachelor of Nursing students, Ella and Dominic, believe that using Lt improved their engagement and led to better learning outcomes. Ella says, “I really interacted with the material and got a lot out of it, and I think it’s the best part. And having it delivered in different ways put my brain in a more active mode than if I was just reading.”
“I’m a visual learner so Lt has really helped me understand the course material better.”
– Ella, 3rd Year Nursing Student
Dominic benefitted from the convenience of having all his course notes within a single system.
“Lt just takes out the guesswork out of preparing for classes and makes learning so much easier. In Lt the objectives for a class are laid out really clearly so I know exactly what to focus on.”
“I definitely did better in the classes where we used Lt than in the classes we didn’t.”
– Dominic, 3rd Year Nursing Student
The positive results are more than anecdotal. New research looking at the use of Lt in the School of Nursing’s 2nd year Pathophysiology Paper has shown that student success has increased significantly over the last three years with the intervention of Lt (Hogarth, 2017). The study shows that by using Lt the School of Nursing has:
Significantly increased student engagement
Improved results in theory and clinical practice
Reduced failures by over 50%, increasing the pass rate to 97%
Accelerating clinical skills
“We are turning out more advanced and confident nursing practitioners.”
– Colette Wright, Clinical Skills Lecturer
Clinical skills lecturer, Colette Wright, worked with the Lt team to create and incorporate detailed videos that demonstrate exactly how to perform core nursing skills like stethoscope placement, measuring blood pressure, and preparing a sterile field.
“With Lt, students have the ability to watch and practice a skill over and over in their own time, so they can really master that skill. Combined with our teaching material this helps students to understand how they would use this skill in a clinical environment.”
Lt has also increased the time that Colette spends teaching students on a one-to-one basis, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of her laboratories.
“We only have a limited time in the lab. With Lt, students prepare for the lab in their own time so when they come to class we now have double the time to practice their clinical skills – and they’ve doubled the face to face time they have with me.”
Achieving digital strategy objectives
The feedback from students about Lt, backed up by data on improved learning outcomes and student engagement, is encouraging for Otago Polytechnic’s Chief Executive, Phil Ker. He is positive about the role Lt has played in the success of the Polytechnic’s strategy to become leaders in digital learning technology so far.
“The feedback on Lt is fabulous. It provides a really good learner experience and our teachers love it as well. And we love anything on the technology front that our teachers love,” Phil Ker says. “I have no doubts at all that our experience with Lt has been part of the package that has built our excellent reputation, and that keeps the students coming in.”
“I think the stats speak for themselves: over half of our learners come from outside the local area, which is unusual for a Polytechnic.”
– Phil Ker, Chief Executive
Improving student satisfaction
For Linda Kinniburgh the implementation and proven success of Lt in the School of Nursing has been gratifying on many levels.
“By embracing technology and new ways of teaching I’ve seen a very real increase in the excitement and engagement of students over the years. They love how we deliver the program and, in turn, they become our best marketers by telling other people about it.”
Linda has seen tangible results in the increased competition for places on the first year of the Bachelor of Nursing Degree, a turn-around from the trend 5 years ago.
Strengthening enrolment numbers
“Our objectives were to stay future focused, to stay ahead of other Nursing schools in New Zealand. And we are ahead. This year we had over 350 applications for 100 places on the first year of our Nursing Degree so we do not have a problem filling our spaces, whereas some other nursing schools do.”
Today, the school turns out high caliber graduates who are in demand for their skills and knowledge. The School of Nursing has impressive graduate statistics, with 98% Course Completion and Graduate Satisfaction and 92% of Graduates in Employment.
“By using Lt we have stayed at the forefront of learning technologies - keeping us relevant, modern and current. But on so many other levels it has revolutionized our teaching. Ultimately, that’s what benefits our students and makes for confident, skilled nurses...and that’s the most important thing.”
– Linda Kinniburgh, Head of School of Nursing (2006-2016)
About: Otago Polytechnic
Otago Polytechnic, based in Dunedin, New Zealand, is a leader in hands-on career focused education. The Polytechnic has over 7,000 full and part time students, and offers over 100 programs across 10 schools.
Government figures show the Otago Polytechnic leads their sector for course and qualification completions at 84% and 90% respectively, and they were awarded the highest possible rating for educational performance, and their ability to assess our own performance.
The Polytechnic has some of the best student achievement and satisfaction results in New Zealand, and resounding endorsements from employers.
Lt is a cloud-based learning platform that bridges the gap between theory and practice by delivering an engaging immersive learning experience.
Designed to stimulate active learning based on the latest pedagogical research on engagement and retention, Lt has 300+ fully editable life science lessons created by a specialized team of instructional designers. Educators can also create, customize, and deliver their own content using Lt’s modern tools and features. Lt gives students the unique ability to record and analyze their own physiological signals, encouraging active learning and giving students an engaging, immersive learning experience.
Lt for Nursing
Designed specifically for nursing and healthcare courses, Lt’s Immersive Nursing Collection delivers real-life patient case studies via the Patient Case Library. Students gain intimate access to a real patient’s story through videos, interviews, clinical data and medical records.
The collection also includes engaging exercises, video interviews, audio bites, animations, images and other interactive content, providing the perfect complement to simulation.
Hogarth, K., (2017, Sept). Immersive learning in nursing education (Title TBC). Paper presented at the ANEC Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand.