Appropriateness of action learning in the physical and virtual spaces: a discussion

Paramedics are autonomous health professionals who must graduate into the workforce with complex problem-solving skills, an ability to exercise critical thinking, and clinical reasoning skills to challenging situations, if they are to practise safely. Face-to-face action learning (AL) has long been acknowledged for contributing to the development of such skills, by providing a platform for structured thinking, group working, and a tool for developing participant's ability to ask insightful questions (Pedler et al, 2005) and more recently, action learning in the virtual space is becoming increasingly popular. Virtual action learning has emerged for reasons including globalisation, where the emergence of multi-national and dispersed students has become commonplace (Dickenson et al, 2010) and advances in technology that have allowed more collaborative communication.This discussion paper provides an introduction and background to action learning (AL), virtual action learning (VAL) and explores the appropriateness of these paradigms as a tool for embedding reflective practice and problem-solving skills among undergraduate student paramedics.

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