Can wikis be used to support case-based learning in paramedic education?

Higher education has seen a rapid increase in the use of Web 2.0 applications, such as wikis, blogs, podcasts and vodcasts. While their use and integration has been investigated by other cognate and non-cognate disciplines, this has yet to be formally undertaken by the paramedic discipline. Therefore, this article describes a pilot study that examines the student use of wikis to support case-based learning (CBL) within a Bachelor of Emergency Health (BEH) degree at Monash University. The aim of this study is to report student attitudes on group work using wikis during weekly CBL activities. Methods: a cross-sectional study using a convenience sample of second year undergraduate students enrolled in the BEH degree were surveyed using a short paper-based self-reporting questionnaire focused on attitudes towards wikis. Included with the questionnaire was a brief set of demographic questions. Results: overall, participants reported positive attitudes and perceptions towards the use of wikis and peer-based learning during the weekly clinical cases. For example, item 1: ‘I found the group wiki useful in completing the team task’ reported a median score of 3 (IQR 2-3), while item 3: ‘using wiki encouraged better participation of each group member in the case’ reported a median score of 2 (IQR 2-3). Despite the positive results, there were areas that require further attention such as social loafing, and development of a more flexible learning management system. Conclusion: although findings from this study are preliminary, it appears that wikis are a useful addition to CBL in paramedic clinical units. Further research is warranted using a larger sample size, and integrated and compared across both clinical and non-clinical units. Closer examination of discrete pedagogical issues such as peer- and self-based learning is also necessary, particularly with the increasing use of educational technology being used throughout higher education.

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