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Congruence or conflict? Challenges in implementing problem-based learning across nursing cultures

Authors

  • Jane Conway RN, BHSc, BNurs(Hons), GradCertHRM, GradDipFET, MEd,

    1. Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Lecturer, PROBLARC, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Penny Little BSc, MEd,

    1. External Consultant, PROBLARC, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Margaret McMillan RN, BA, MCurrSt(Hons), DipNEd, PhD

    1. Deputy Executive Dean, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
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Correspondence: Jane Conway, Problem-Based Learning Assessment and Research Centre (PROBLARC), University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia. Email: jane.conway@newcastle.edu.au

Abstract

Using the ‘real-life’ situation of delivering an Australian nursing curriculum in the Maldives, this paper argues that successful offshore delivery requires far more than simply implementing an existing programme on a different site. In health education, cultural and contextual circumstances necessitate a critical appraisal of the needs of the community and the corresponding attributes of those who provide health-care services. This means designing programmes that are process oriented and easily adapted to different circumstances, and a commitment to maintaining effective communication systems. Although it would seem that problem-based learning (PBL) provides the framework for a process-oriented, learner-centred curriculum, the paper raises questions about how universally relevant the processes embedded in PBL are and describes concerns about the intent and purpose of nominating PBL as the preferred instructional strategy for cross-cultural projects.

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