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Authenticity in learning

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

In radiologic science, we encourage our students to think outside the box of how to create images on patients that are unable to cooperate. Pain, injury, mental faculties, disease process, etc., are all variables that play a role in hindering outcomes for excellent radiographic examinations. Each projection that we take has a list of expected evaluation criteria that should be met with each exam. It is not uncommon for students to say "my patient was sick, my patient was hurt, my patient couldn't move, etc." It is a constant battle to remind the students that those criteria were not established for the small percentage of the population that can fully cooperate but for all exams regardless of the situation. Typically, we put medical dummies into neck braces, arm slings, and backboards and then tell them to recreate a standard exam and meet all those same criteria. The students are forced to both collaborate with their peers and also trouble-shoot a multitude of ways to complete the exam. The process very rarely begins with great success. It is frustrating and there are many failures before their mind switches over to situational problem solving and not just them trying to get a (unconscious) patient to do everything that they have a conscious patient do. To me, in the simplest form, this is creating an authentic learning environment. I can see where the CSLE+COVA way of learning applies to my particular situation and that of my students. The students choose what they need to demonstrate, what supplies they need to complete the exam, how they will complete the exam and will ultimately be responsible for creating a diagnostic image. Since every single patient has a differing set of circumstances, they need to one day be able to work through each situation on their own. As a technologist of more than 27 years, it is very rare that every patient exam can be completed exactly the same way. Therefore, creating this type of learning environment is critical to the success of my students. There is no rubric in an emergent exam, just your brain and your ability to work out a solution.

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