"The Child's World": a creative and visual trigger to stimulate student enquiry in a problem based learning module.Nurse Educ Today. 2008 Nov; 28(8):962-9.NE
Despite the abundance of literature on problem based learning (PBL) [Murray, I., Savin-Baden, M., 2000. Staff development in problem-based learning. Teaching in Higher Education 5 (1), 107-126; Johnson, A.K., Tinning, R.S., 2001. Meeting the challenge of problem-based learning: developing the facilitators. Nurse Education Today 21 (3), 161-169; McCourt, C., Thomas, G., 2001. Evaluation of a problem based curriculum in midwifery. Midwifery 17 (4), 323-331; Cooke, M., Moyle, K., 2002. Students' evaluation of problem-based learning. Nurse Education Today 22, 330-339; Haith-Cooper, M., 2003a. An exploration of tutors' experiences of facilitating problem-based learning. Part 1--an educational research methodology combining innovation and philosophical tradition. Nurse Education Today 23, 58-64; Haith-Cooper, M., 2003b. An exploration of tutor' experiences of facilitating problem-based learning. Part 2--implications for the facilitation of problem based learning. Nurse Education Today 23, 65-75; Rowan, C.J., Mc Court, C., Beake, S., 2007. Problem based learning in midwifery--The teacher's perspective. Nurse Education Today 27, 131-138; Rowan, C.J., Mc Court, C., Beake, S., 2008. Problem based learning in midwifery--The students' perspective. Nurse Education Today 28, 93-99] few studies focus on describing "triggers", the process involved in their development and their evaluation from students' perspective. It is clearly documented that well designed, open ended, real life and challenging "triggers" are key to the success of PBL implementation [Roberts, D., Ousey, K., 2004. Problem based learning: developing the triggers. Experiences from a first wave site. Nurse Education in Practice 4, 154-158, Gibson, I., 2005. Designing projects for learning. In: Barrett, T., Mac Labhrainn, I., Fallon, H., (Eds.), Handbook of Enquiry and Problem-based Learning: Irish Case Studies and International Perspectives. AISHE & CELT: NUI Galway. <www.nuigalway.ie/celt/pblbook>, Barrett, T., 2005. Understanding problem-based learning. In: Barrett, T. Mac Labhrainn, I., Fallon, H., (Eds.), Handbook of Enquiry and Problem-based Learning: Irish Case Studies and International Perspectives. AISHE & CELT, NUI Galway. <www.nuigalway.ie/celt/pblbook>]. This paper outlines the planning, implementation and evaluation of a "trigger" developed for a first year undergraduate nursing module. To meet specific module learning outcomes and to stimulate student inquiry through the learning strategy of PBL, a bright and colourful collage, was constructed. This tool was then evaluated using focus group interviews. Students' perspectives centered round a core theme, 'finding a focus and taking control'. Four categories were identified illustrating students progress from 'initial confusion' to engaging with the 'trigger diversity' before confidently 'exploring their own line of inquiry', thus leading to the 'stimulation of their learning'. Consistent with previous research, we also suggest it is customary for students to experience an initial period of ambiguity as they switch from teacher led to student centered learning [Biley, F., 1999. Creating tension: under graduate students nurses' response to a problem-based learning curriculum. Nurse Education Today 19 (7), 586-589]. One challenge in developing "triggers" is that the process is primarily controlled by lecturers. We suggest that a possible way forward would be to also engage students in the development of "triggers".