Engaging contemporary learners

On 17 May, in Hobart, Mrs Amanda Wray and Dr Alison Yaxley attended a pre-conference workshop, facilitated by the Community of Practice for Dietetic Educators, which aimed to showcase innovative approaches in dietetic training and education.

During this session, which was run the afternoon prior to the Dietitians Association of Australia 34th National Conference, three speakers shared the highs and lows of their implementation of methods to integrate the new DAA competencies into their dietetics teaching programs. Associate Professor Rachel Bacon (University of Canberra), Meredith Kennedy (University of Wollongong) and Gemma Jenkins (Edith Cowan University) spoke eloquently about three quite different, yet also similar, approaches to these significant changes to their programs.

Reflecting on student engagement with the old DAA competencies, common themes highlighted by each of the speakers were that the students were disengaged from the old competencies and often felt they were passengers in their learning journey.  Feedback indicated that the students often became focused on the negative feedback without hearing what they needed to improve on.

A student-led approach to competency based assessment on the other hand, gives students more control of their own learning and assessment.  Competency based assessment where students obtain evidence to support their competency development is thought to drive assessment for learning, and therefore enable students to be more involved in their own assessment process.  The introduction of e-portfolios in the final year placement topics in 2017 is a shared approach amongst many of the Universities to engage students in their learning and promote reflective practice.

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