Partner Institutions

Project Lead: National University of Ireland, Galway

Project Partners: University College Dubin

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NUIG, Conference, COPD, Nursing studies

NUIG, Conference, COPD, Nursing studies

Dr. Dympna Casey

National University of Ireland, Galway


Detailed Proposal

Inter-professional education (IPE) takes place when at least two professions learn with, from and about one another to enhance collaborative practice. How best to implement IPE is a major challenge. Large student numbers and difficulties synchronising timetables are barriers to uptake. So far few educationalists have explored the use of digital technology as a means of overcoming these barriers.

Aim: to implement and evaluate the impact of an online IPE programme designed to promote collaborative practice within undergraduate health care disciplines.


To implement an IPE programme using digital technology to improve inter professional collaborative practice

To promote students understanding of the perspectives, values and roles of other health care disciplines through collaborative problem solving

  • To evaluate the impact on students ability to think clearly and to collaborate with other disciplines
  • To capture student and staff experiences and perceptions of the entire IPE process
  • To identify factors that facilitate or hinder student engagement in learning
  • To identify changes in students skills, knowledge, perceptions of and attitudes toward other health care disciplines
  • To compare outcomes across participating institutions
  • To estimate the cost of implementing digital technology


Two complementary but not identical universities (UCD & NUIG) will deliver an IPE values-based decision-making programme using the online Values Exchange Network (VX) developed by Professor Seedhouse. Undergraduate health care students (n=250) from 10 different disciplines including nursing, medicine, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, sports and exercise management, speech and language will undertake the programme. The programme will be facilitated by a team of lecturers who already teach on the respective undergraduate programmes, but will be specifically trained to use VX. Ethical approval will be obtained and specifically designed quantitative and qualitative tools will be used to collect data.

The Values Exchange Digital Network (VX)

The six week programme will mainly focus on values-based decision-making and ethically problematic health care situations. It will require approximately two hours student engagement per week and the VX network will be used to deliver the programme The VX Network is original in its approach and provides a rich pedagogical framework for exploring values and challenging preconceptions. It has an effective and attractive interface that makes good use of visual representations and provides data in a clear and adaptable format. The educational model underpinning VX draws on several pedagogical approaches including student-centred learning, the Socratic method, problem- and group-based learning as well as self-directed engagement. It is a specifically designed highly networked environment which utilises a range of interactive learning tools enabling students to work collaboratively to solve specific shared problems, in a context specifically designed to make value-judgements transparent. The VX reveals results immediately allowing participants to explore them using in-built powerful analytic filters. This allows students to see and judge for themselves the richness of and differences in their peers value-judgements and reasoning, across the disciplines. The network is designed to foster the highest levels of interaction, creativity and exploration and develop student leadership, critical thinking, collaboration and shared decision-making within interdisciplinary groups.

Clear description of main activities
•    The development, implementation and evaluation of an online IPE programme which improves inter-professional collaborative practice
Specific outputs of the project
•    A report on student and staff experiences of using digital technology to implement IPE
•    Peer reviewed publications on project results
•    Enhanced student understanding of their own role and values as well as the perspectives, values and roles of other health care disciplines
•    Increased staff and student satisfaction with using digital technology
•    A list of the factors that facilitate student engagement in online learning
•    A list of the factors that hinder student engagement in online learning
•    The strengthening of relationships between colleagues within and across institutions making future collaborative initiative more likely
•    An estimate of the costs associated with implementing digital technology
•    Revised programme content and delivery method for next run of the module
Implementation plan for ensuring national impact of the project.
•    Development of a project dissemination strategy
•    Identification and targeting of key educational conferences to present findings from the project
•    Development of a publication policy at the outset of the study which identifies potential papers, lead authors and peer reviewed journals to target