Theory-based teaching and learning strategies have been chosen as one of critical thinking techniques that appeal to students in a dynamic learning procedure. An active learning process obliges students to engage in the learning system, understand themselves, environment, and their future aspirations regarding the career. Therefore, they will probably focus on memory information connected with the lesson. The strategy presents different procedures related to necessary learning, teaching, and development. Several faculties find theories and other literature helpful for developing critical thinking learning activities for a classroom. Hence, students can benefit from the development of appreciation of diverse learning strategies used and their engagement in the role of learners in such activities.

The study is designed to provide a foundation for understanding nursing theories, philosophies and strategies of teaching and learning that have influenced nursing education. Principles of adult education, teaching and learning theories, and strategies will be explained. The two domains of learning defined as behavioral and cognitive learning about nursing education will be explored in the paper. It gives students opportunity to explore their methods of learning and develop their philosophy of education. Nonetheless, moral and legitimate issues identified with students in every distinctive environment are covered in the paper, setting the establishment for other courses in educational programs. It emphasizes factors facilitating or impeding learning process, having adopted theory-based approach as one of the teaching and learning strategies. Moreover, the paper captures the implications of the theory-based learning strategy to both students and nursing educators, bearing in mind the nature of this involving career. The study recommends that nursing educators should emphasize the theory and development of nursing concepts to impact and nurture informed medics.

Theory-based teaching strategies and theories are primary guides for educational system planning in the classroom and clinical training, especially in nursing. The teachers acquainted with the general principles of these theories can use their knowledge more effectively according to various learning situations. The theory defines the development and translation of the field or part of belief. It has an arrangement of related suggestions, which should have the capacity to portray, clarify, anticipate, or manage the prevailing phenomena. The theories provide explanations about learning and their application (Oermann, 2015). Over the past century, educational psychologists and researchers have postulated many theories to explain how individuals acquire, organize, and deploy skills and knowledge. Educational psychology offers an assortment of theories and perspectives regarding the methods of teaching and what people remember through the learning process and change. Comprehension of learning theories, which frame the center of the instructive psychology and research, is vital in training to assist researchers in giving a domain to learning. It expands the instruction’s effectiveness framework and harmonization in training (Garcia, 2011).

In the twentieth century, development and testing of the learning theories have helped researchers learn how to distinguish individuals and note changes in the methods of thinking, feelings, and behavior. Concern and in-depth teaching and learning are necessary for those interested in dealing with nursing education and issues relating to their training issues, thus explaining the learning theories. These theories of learning are the framework of the structure and principles that pay attention to the description and explanation of the people’s education and development.

Shifting Demographics

The educational psychology specializing in medical researches and practices has observed learning from various perspectives, and the findings expounding on the learning process have led to different theories; they can be used as a guide for directing the informed teaching and learning methods. Learning theories contribute greatly to education and psychology counseling by providing the desired infrastructure. Nursing and the medical field are not an exception to this. It is recommended to use learning theories, single or separated or a combination in the health professions including the nursing. Health professions are also required to demonstrate the consistent utilization of theories and clear thinking in learning and instructive exercises, communication with patients and customers, interactions in proceeding with training and health-related advancement programs, particularly in the current healthcare services and structure. In many nations, medical practitioners and nurses handle the outline, implementation, and the procedures for advancing health training. Moreover, nurses can adopt the approach in the field of self-care education to the patients. Apart from the nursing profession, the knowledge about the learning process is mostly identified with the daily life of the people as well. Learning theories can be used exclusively or at a group level for better understanding and adaptation to new things. It is also relevant for critical thinking, helpful in correspondence and conduct development.

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Understanding Today’s Learners

An active nursing, medical and clinical teaching and learning emphasizes theoretical understanding before integration of nursing students into ward activities to address individual students learning needs. It also provides innovative teaching and learning approaches. With the similar characteristics of practice, surrounding vicinities can provide useful insights for development (Houghton, 2014). The predominant features of clinical learning environments, according to the nursing students’ perspectives on studies in different countries over the last decade, dictate the future of medical practitioners. Learners in several countries using the Clinical Leaning Environment Inventory were reviewed to a great extent (Van Lier, 2014). Medical learning environments are the most efficient way to promote an effective and efficient practice that is inclusive of the students but not readily open to innovations and challenges in routine practices.

The nurse development education has changed radically in the past two decades. Today, there is an increasing adoption of technological learning platforms that enhance learning in schools, colleges, and universities. The nurse educators are currently using latest technology in the classroom to intensify teaching and learning. The recent development in technology has induced the user-generated content obtained from the website and has been unreserved and useful. More recently, it has delivered a module to undergraduate nursing students in which the teaching and learning are highly facilitated and strengthened with YouTube resources. The YouTube videos and recordings use the expanded learner engagement, basic mindfulness and ensure profound learning. Besides, videos on YouTube can be accessed anytime and from a point to suit the learning demands. In spite of a few imperatives, online content may be unregulated and can mislead or either be inaccurate or biased. Nonetheless, it is unequivocally prescribed to consider using YouTube for teaching and learning in and outside the classroom in the era of students who are quickly changing the computerized world.

Emotional intelligence has been underscored as an important theoretical and practical construct. It has the potential to enable individuals to cope better and experience less stress, thus contributing to a healthy and stable workforce. A better understanding of emotional intelligence in nursing helps students relate the predetermined stress, learning strategies, and the perceived nursing competency and theoretical performance. As far as the theoretical strategies are concerned, there is a distinct emotional intelligence that is positively related to the problem-oriented one with a close and perceived nursing proficiency that considers the negatively correlated stress. The increasing feelings in line with the responsibility and control of the emotive competence aid nursing students in learning and following proactive and decent learning strategies. It assists in dealing with stress that in turn augments the subjectivity of normal and serene living. Therefore, there is a prospective value of facilitating the emotional intelligence in students of nursing and other health-related professions regarding the quest of the improved understanding in medical fields.

Learning Theories for Use with Today’s Learners

Behaviorist Theory

Nursing education provides access to skills performance and accomplishment of the procedures through the use of theories and mannequins. Consequently, by using the trial and error method, the students gain the desired clinical skills. Satisfying results will also lead to strengthening and developing of the necessary medical expertise (Simon, 2015). Poor results cause students to find alternative answers through trial and error and eventually reach the correct answer to each question. However, this may lead to disappointment as observed on satisfied clients, but the students are applauded having been equipped with the enhanced skills.

The central concepts advanced by Thorndike theory have underscored an important educational effect with the elements of the notion such as learning transfer. At early stages of development of the theory, Thorndike signified that the psychological mentality and forces explained the phenomenon of the learning process. For this reason, the theory is applied in nursing (Smith and Meux, 2012). Students in a clinical environment encounter varying issues, which need different combined forces. Therefore, it is comprehensive without being able to collateralize all the forces together. Skinner’s conditioning theory, on the other hand, which is more than just a scientific theory of learning, set of techniques and principles, was noted for its use in different fields for human administration. Skinner perceived the final results of the behavior and realized that behavior was a self-driven or rather a voluntary course of actions formed by its outcomes.

The method can be adopted in teaching clinical skills and conceptualizing medical theories. At first, the initial behavior of each procedure encourages the actor to implement the procedure entirely. This further encourages appropriate learning methods and steadily increases the extent of learning. Motivation at this stage is desirable to establish and maintain the behavioral conduct. Educators can teach each procedure by giving informed clues to the student before starting the procedure. For example, reminding students to have appropriate or expected behaviors for accessing the desired behavior in less time. Also, the computer programs that are designed to learn specific methods of patient care use the same methods.

The agent conditioning has been adversely used, although it also had a problem which is too reliant on the learners. First, they should perform and accomplish the behavior so that they reinforce it. The process is quite engaging and consumes substantial time, considering the kind of procedures undertaken. The theorists noted that favorable results and copied performances could simulate students’ behavior. Conversely, the undesirable results make the observers refrain from that behavior. Although the behaviorists’ training methods depend on the student’s motivation, enough attention is not paid to fortify their intrinsic inspiration. For this reason, their learning is more as a reaction and stimulus having unreasonable physical aspect and less thoughtfulness regarding the basic procedure and critique in students. However, the use of behavioral theory in clinical setting is particularly imperative to nursing. With Thorndike’s conclusion, the primary education standards incorporate the clarity of goals in training. Sorting the content from simple to complex and accentuating the assessment procedure, giving right responses to inquiries, and preparing the students for learning in an orderly environment situation will make a disciplined training environment for rehashing the correct answer and rewarding the students after their right response to the inquiries (Smith & Meux, 2012).

The evaluation method is a criterion reference; the teaching and training methods include personal training and the planned training. Not forgetting the computer-based training, the goal of training in education, and behavior change in the desired direction, they all form the baseline of the theory-based teaching strategies. Since behaviorists have based their commitment to the study of the perceptible behavior, the determination of educational purposes and transforming them into genuine and behavioral goals is a fundamental duty of a teacher. These behavioral objectives are paramount in clinical training within nursing education, particularly in the mental-focused area. This is acknowledged as a guide for teaching and evaluation of students’ clinical performance. The foundation of education is based on the behavior competence (Dierking, 2011). Learning at the proficiency level or mastery learning is demonstrated by behaviorists: both are the expected learning outcomes of the nursing.

According to Thorndike’s law of compensation, an optimal outcome behavior has a strong connection between the stimulus and response. According to the law, if a behavior is effected in the presence of a stimulus, it can achieve the solicited result and thus will be learned. There is a corroborated effect between the stimulus and the resultant response. The law of compensation advanced by Thorndike is widely connected with nursing education. Nurses in hospital and health facilities without proper arranging consider theory-based teaching and learning, which are becoming synonymous among nursing students. Nursing staff in hospitals without prior planning are also involved in many cases in the education of nursing students. The theory underscores the role of an instructor or a manager in providing stimuli. Therefore, manipulating the learning environment provides reinforcement and transference of information, while the students are passive recipients of information and knowledge as they perform the commands. The theory espouses environment as a stimulating and enhancing medium. Consequently, its role is indispensable, and the role of environment in learning is more than the role of heredity(Smith & Meux, 2012).

Cognitive Theories

Cognitive psychologists believe that learning is a targeted internal process that focuses on thinking, understanding, organizing, and cognizance. Learning cannot only be observed directly but also related to the changes in the potential and capacity of the person to respond. More often, it does not immediately change the behavior. The students should be equipped with questioning skills and broad problem-solving techniques so that they can explore and process information. Therefore, learning is effected since they can learn actively, by solving and searching for new information, reviewing their previous experiences for better understanding as postulated by the Gestalt theory, the leader among the learning cognitive theories (Kaakinen, Coehlo, Steele, Tabacco, & Hanson, 2014).

Learning and a better understanding, instead of mechanical reactions and exciting relationship have to be consistent with the past experiences or existing knowledge that create awareness. Nursing instructors can adopt and use these standards in their teaching sessions to be seen in general, not as an accumulation of discrete facts. For example, if an assembly is connected to the arrangement, a functional respiratory tract disorders, for example, bronchitis, and the daily activities of life, the students can describe the anatomy of human being and physiology, the state of the disease, and its adverse effects. In the meantime, other methods of dealing with the disease and impending problems can be adopted. For example, rather than teaching the students while attending a patient with bronchitis, the disturbance created within body’s physiology by the disease can be explained and the nurse can be asked to investigate the difficulties and the predicaments that may occur to the patient. By relating these factors to human physiology as well as to the patients, an appropriate nursing care could be identified (Houghton, 2014).

For example, a student learning the blood circulation process and the skills related to the blood pressure analysis without knowing its importance is traced in the inactive stage. At that point, the student will start to think of gaining insight into the circulatory concept starting from the heart and moving to the narrow and wide veins with the blood stream. This is an iconic stage of learning attributed to the theory-based teaching. The student gradually approaches the symbolic stage and can then define blood pressure. The learner can comfortably explain the importance of cardiac systems and the physical or environmental resistance. Therefore, the teacher can use this model or an example from daily things to help the teaching (Houghton, 2014). Besides, there is also a coding system, which grouped the given facts and related them to each other. It allows the learner to understand the theory behind the system, go beyond the given information, which was stored in the system, and desire to create new ideas, as seen in inferential studies of the nursing principles.

Evaluations of Teaching Strategies for Use with Today’s Learners

The learning environment has been identified as either encouraging or impeding an active learning experience for nurses. However, giving the appropriate and standard level of learning assistance through supervision of those encountering some particular difficulties promotes the career. However, junior nurses often work without supervision from a more senior peer professional. Mentors are unlikely to be able to provide the proper level of mentorship and supervision, which is expected to have a significant effect on learning, without increasing their workload. Kear (2013) stated that 38% of junior nursing staff welcomes engagement in training and assessment, while 62% of senior nurses are not interested in being personally involved in training. The reasons for inherent reluctance are attributed to the lack of time and complaints on heavy workload. Some nurses also feel that they are not qualified to teach. The work environment is also an important variable and may be an obstacle for teaching. For example, this can be difficult if someone feels uncorroborated by other team members. These variables can threaten patient safety and care quality and are also likely to affect how the individual responds to any learning opportunity.

Education in an organization refers to a single dominant cultural factor instead of acknowledging diverged cultural differences. This may also impede learning and the change process. The differences in learning styles may be influenced by language, culture, and heritage. Moreover, male and female colleagues learn differently. In an organization that employs nurses from varied ethnic backgrounds, it is encouraged to accommodate individuals endowed with distinct learning needs. For those people who are not English natives, they may find instructive training courses that are challenging to follow.

Implications and the Teaching Strategies for Use with Today’s Learners

There are several techniques used to assess the application of the theory in practice. These include the empowered and motivated workforce and the reduction in accidents because staff applies the good theory-based practice. Moreover, the improved performance standards, increased staff retention, and decreased sickness levels are attributed to the better theorization of nursing concepts. Simultaneously, the outcome evaluation is concerned with establishing outcomes of training and development programs. The focus may be on individuals and any changes in their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavior; individual and organizational performance, or changes in organizational culture and climate.

The study results obtained by Levett-Jones et al. (2015) professed the outcomes for 165 participants of an organizational training program. The results confirmed that individuals benefit from improved confidence and self-efficacy and increased enjoyment at work, and need less supervision. It is also noted that people who feel that there has been an investment in their confidence are inclined to contribute to improvement of the organization. Therefore, it implies indirect benefits for their work and ultimately for performance-related issues.

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A consideration for the individual learning styles is fundamental in designing effective training programs. It is highlighted that most staff members prefer a visual learning style, and a special emphasis should be given to both work-based learning and theory-based didactic teaching strategies. The impact of training is linked by a cause-and-effect chain, which leads to learning and ultimately the changes in job behavior. In the long run, there will be record changes in the organization, which result in the achievement of eventual goals in nursing practices. As it is hypothesized, people learn something when they are taught new or improved knowledge, skills or attitudes, which later become part of regular behavior or performance. The relatively permanent change in behavior is induced by learning and practicing what one has been taught until it is fully comprehended. Therefore, t is reasonable to state that the theory has been applied to practice. The well-designed and administered theory-based teaching methods and programs can lead to improvements in nurses’ overall job performance. Moreover, a positive reaction to training does not necessarily predict the learning prospects. Organizations should also devise a training providing more efficient practices rather than engaging them in the class lectures.

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