Nursing educators must always be aware of new, different, and better ways to teach their students. Concept Based Learning is a new nursing student educational teaching and learning technique allowing educators to focus on teaching concepts to nursing students rather than problem sets or raw information learning tactics like rote memorization. Nursing students must know ever-increasing amounts of content and learn it in a very short time, and need to be generalists (only taught through critical thinking skills). Concept Based Learning is based on the idea that nursing students must grasp overall concepts before they can successfully apply them in school or employment.
Concept Based Learning is focused around inquiry, and for nurse educators this means asking questions of students and allowing students to ask questions. The following questions should be asked about the learning technique, centering on nursing students:
The “who” centers around the students or the learners. Educators must promote open communication based on mutual respect, understanding, and student encouragement in activity, compassion, and lifelong learning. The “how” for educators is a new, more effective teaching approach for nursing students that encourages lifelong learning, making cognitive and real life connections. The “why” is because educators should always educate students in global contexts, meaning techniques should encourage tolerance and cultural knowledge. The “what” is guiding students through significant content exploration that provides balanced, connected, and assessed classes and curriculums in a manner that ensures that students are learning, engaged, and take away necessary knowledge from their educations.
Nurse educators support Concept Based Learning because it encourages critical thinking, a skill all students and people need -- especially nurses, who frequently experience new situations. Concept Based Learning allows for teaching “outside the box” and should create unique conversations, allowing students more time for discussion and thought instead of worksheets and testing. Concept Based Learning includes as a central component cultural education, encouraging tolerance and exploration, a key part of becoming a caring, thoughtful, and helpful nurse. Concept Based Learning is a powerful tool for nurse educators to increase student knowledge and development, allowing their educations drive them beyond classroom experiences to a lifetime of learning and excellent patient care.