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Use of a nominal group technique to evaluate a remote area simulation event for paramedicine students

02 March 2016
Volume 6 · Issue 1



In 2015 a pilot remote area practice workshop was conducted for final year students in an entry to practice paramedic program attending the University of the Sunshine Coast. The pedagogy was based on social constructivism and experiential learning in which students were tasked to solve real world problems in a remote environment. A feed-forward teaching philosophy based on collaboration and scaffolding enabled students to construct their own knowledge of practice in this environment.


We evaluated the experience from both participant and facilitator viewpoints using the Nominal Group Technique, which places emphasis on themes within the feedback obtained. Nominal group technique was utilised as a data collection method at the end of the two-day workshop to achieve consensus on positive aspects of the learning experience as well as to identify areas to be developed in future iterations.


The data indicated that the participants valued the challenging scenarios resembling real-world practices that also included a mock communications centre. This highlighted issues which may not have been discovered using other methods of feedback. We found the nominal group technique method to be an appropriate method to gain a consensus of opinions and differentiate critical feedback from the less critical feedback.

The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is one of several Australian universities offering paramedic education that enables entry-to-practice. The educational philosophy underpinning the USC paramedic programme is one of social constructivism, where learners shape their own knowledge and skills through their actions and interactions within the social and cultural milieu of the discipline of study (Vygotsky, 1978). Experiential learning theories emphasise the importance of active engagement in learning, and the constructivist framework is a useful way to organise teaching strategies and design learning activities that develop clinical assessment and decision-making skills (Kolb, 1984). This requires a learning environment that provides students the opportunity to engage in new experiences (concrete experiences); develop reflective skills through multiple views of observation (reflective observation); conceptualise their observations and experiences by integrating them into theories (abstract conceptualisation); and to use these concepts for making decisions and solving problems (active experimentation) (Kolb, 1984).

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