Extending conceptual understanding: How interprofessional education influences affective domain development
Interprofessional learning (IPL) can influence affective domain development of students through teaching activities that facilitate learning with, from, and about other professions. Current quantitative evidence offers limited explanation of how this learning is achieved within IPL programmes. This article tests a conceptual framework drawn from theories on IPL and affective domain development (attitudes, values, and behaviours) to explain what works for whom, when, and in what circumstances. The objectives of the study were twofold: to evaluate the impact of the IPL programme on the student’s attitudes and values, and to identify behaviour changes in clinical practice towards interprofessional working. Using an action research approach, based in practice, an IPL programme was delivered over 6 weeks. Students from five professions, nursing, radiography, physiotherapy, social work, and podiatry (n = 63), participated over the two action research cycles and in semi-structured focus groups (n = 37). The recorded personal experiences of the IPL activities on the students were examined in relation to the type of activity; impact on the affective domain of learning (attitude, value, or behaviour) and self-reported outcome on application to their practice. Modification in affective domain development was measured to identification or internalisation stage for 30 of the students. Self-reported outcomes on application to practice included direct impact on patient care, personal resilience building, improved communication, and ability to challenge practice. This article presents a conceptual framework not evident in current research, in regard to what IPL works for whom, in what circumstances, and when. IPL activities that address a personal reward or incentive and are delivered over four weeks, imitating ‘circles of care,’ that explore self-assessment, team building, and reflection can lead to sustained change in values, attitudes, and behaviours.