C.H.D.SIM1, D.ENG1, T.TEE1, H.S.LIM1
We report the educational outcomes of Work-Based Learning Program (WBL). WBL is a redesign of Year 2 and 3 clinical year aimed to foster students’ learning and skills acquisition from mentoring and contact with patients in optometry disciplines. Students were scheduled for up to 18 hours weekly in a primary eyecare center and maintained a workplace portfolio consisting of notes written at clinical sessions and record of the learning topics covered. Reflective practice was introduced to encourage professional knowledge and action awareness and documenting them in learning portfolio. Weekly tutorials using case method approach where a discussion-based way of learning formed a major component of student’s didactic experiences. Additionally, we aimed to understand students’ experiences of WBL, their perceptions in terms of important things they have learnt, confidence in solving clinical problems and how do these perceptions change during WBL.
Research groups were made up of WBL students, adjunct clinicians, internship supervisors and employers. Data were obtained using Likert-scale surveys.
Results indicated WBL as engaging and illustrated students’ perception on how the experiences had benefited in developing clinical confidence and work-ready skills and knowledge. In addition, WBL students were found to be more proficient in critical thinking skills (p = 0.039), more likely to exhibit traits of an optometrist (p = 0.013), displayed a wider range and better interpersonal skills (p = 0.062) and more prepared for tasks they undertake as interns (p=0.041) than their peers.
WBL offers students an engaging learning experience and important technical, professional and personal benefits.