University Of Tasmania

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Experiential Learning: Helping to take public health students out of their comfort zone

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 14:22 authored by Kimberley NorrisKimberley Norris, Ayton, J

Aims: To develop student understanding of behavioural/psychological health issues relevant to rural, remote, and extreme public health environments and provide foundation skills in managing these. In particular, it was aimed to engage a student cohort without a strong background in behavioural health studies.

Methods: An online unit was developed and implemented that introduced non-behavioural health students to factors that influence behavioural/psychological health in rural, remote, and extreme environments including Antarctica, Space, Military zones, Mining operations, cults, Disaster workers, and Refugees, incorporating experiential learning opportunities in both formative and summative assessment processes. Students completed measures at baseline, mid-semester, and end-of semester assessing knowledge of relevant behavioural health issues and confidence in managing these issues, relevant to learning tasks within the unit.

Results: Students from a range of backgrounds, including medicine, paramedicine, psychology, behavioural sciences, business, and Antarctic studies enrolled in this unit. At commencement, those students with a psychology/behavioural health background demonstrated greater knowledge and reported higher confidence in managing behavioural health issues in rural, remote and extreme environments. However, by the end of semester these differences were non-significant. Those students without a behavioural health background reported significantly greater increases in knowledge and confidence than those with a behavioural health background. Qualitative data indicated that students attributed improvements in knowledge and confidence to experiential learning exercises completed within the unit.

Conclusion: Experiential learning methods assist in student learning, particularly in areas of study outside their existing knowledge base.



School of Psychological Sciences

Event title

CAPHIA 2015 Public Health Teaching & Learning Forum

Event Venue

Hobart, Tasmania

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