Building life-long learning capacity in undergraduate nursing freshmen within an integrative and small group learning context

Chung Lim Vico Chiang, Sharron S K Leung, Caroline Y Y Chui, Yee Man Angela Leung, Yim Wah Mak

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Life-long learning involves the development of skills in critical thinking (CT), effective group process (GP), and self-directedness (SDL). Recent studies have shown that small group learning with active interactions is effective in enabling students to develop themselves as independent learners beyond graduation. With a view to integrative learning, the purpose of this study was to evaluate life-long learning outcomes through the work of small group teaching and learning for a class of undergraduate nursing freshmen during one academic year. Methods: A mixed-methods approach was used to evaluate the CT, GP and SDL of 99 freshmen with a self-assessment questionnaire before and after their learning activities in three nursing courses, and to identify themes from a total of six focus group interviews with the students and teachers. Results: The CT, GP and SDL results obtained from self-assessment did not indicate significant differences. Four themes emerged from the qualitative analysis. Discussion: Many factors contributed to the results on life-long learning skill development of students in this study. The qualitative analysis provided good insights for future teaching and learning development. Conclusions: With a developmental perspective, life-long learning may be better developed and evaluated over a longer period of time in the nursing program.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1184-1191
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Group process
  • Nursing students
  • Problem-based learning
  • Small group learning
  • Thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Education
  • General Medicine


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