Community-Engaged Interprofessional Education: Integrated Analysis of Pedagogical Strategies Pivotal to Interprofessional Socialization
Interprofessional educators increasingly recognize the importance of establishing graduated interprofessional learning strategies to socialize and prepare learners to work in collaborative care environments. Interprofessional socialization (IPS) is the process of bringing students together from different disciplines to learn from, with, and about each other. However, education programs struggle to systematically integrate evidence-based interprofessional learning. Community-engaged learning, a pedagogical tool adaptable to diverse circumstances, offers an opportunity to expand IPS. The purpose of this mixed methods action research dissertation study was to explore the factors that contribute to IPS through participation in a community-engaged learning course and how IPS evolves among early learners. In this study, I explored several factors, including theoretically-grounded and contextually relevant teaching and learning strategies pivotal to IPS. Specifically, I created and facilitated an innovative pilot Interprofessional Education and Community Health course, guided by experiential learning theory, asset-based and critical pedagogy and flow theory. I found that these theoretically guided instructional techniques nurtured the benefits of team-based experiential learning, inspired a community of confident learners through praxis, and promoted optimal engagement in challenging and meaningful health promotion activities. The learner’s diverse backgrounds, meaningful community-engagement, and challenging collaborative assignments contributed to IPS. The shared novel real-world experiences ignited emotional reactions that nurtured their relationships; facilitating their ability to address conflicts. They sustained motivation to participate in community-engaged learning and maintained a consistent strong belief in the importance of working as a team. Whereas, their understanding of interprofessional teamwork, comfort and preference working on interprofessional teams grew over time. Four pedagogical strategies pivotal to interprofessional socialization emerged for use with community-engaged interprofessional education: 1) purposeful community partnerships, 2) structured collaborative written assignments, 3) intentional conversations, and 4) welcoming cultural assets.