Enhancing Health Care Education and Practice Post COVID

Keywords: healthcare, higher education, pedagogy, interprofessional, design-based research, COVID


Healthcare education and practice has significantly been impacted by COVID-19. This includes the challenge on pedagogical approaches that highlight the potential of technology to facilitate innovative new approaches in response to social distancing, lockdowns, remote learning and improving the patient experience and positive outcomes. Many of these innovative approaches are not fundamentally new but are now seeing relevance beyond early adopters to mainstream implementation. This presentation draws upon collaborations with educational researchers and technologists that have explored the integration of technology into healthcare education and practice.


COVID-19 Adversity to Opportunity

Many healthcare programmes required reenvisaging teaching and learning approaches in response to COVID-19 restrictions. This had a particular impact on the development of interpersonal and practical knowledge and skills essential for healthcare graduates.


The limited access to on-campus learning provided an opportunity for both institutional and individual evaluation of pedagogical practices. The affordances of traditional, didactic, and “hands-on” skills were compared with those that could be facilitated using online asynchronous/ synchronous strategies. A particular concern was the development of the interpersonal and practical skills required in safe and effective healthcare practice. Alongside easing of restrictions, these skills were adapted using online demonstrations within the limits of socially distanced “bubbles”, telehealth and limited clinical placements. Reconsideration of summative assessments was also required- with the introduction online synchronous and asynchronous verbal assessments, and asynchronous submissions of practical skills online (Cochrane et al., 2021; Narayan et al., 2021).


In the prospect of COVID-19 restrictions continuing to lift, it is envisioned that most of the reenvisaged pedagogical approaches to healthcare education will persist, without compromising student critical thinking or practical skills.


Interprofessional Collaboration

This presentation will highlight the importance of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare curriculum design using a Design-Based-Research methodology (Chen et al., 2020; Kartoğlu et al., 2020) to facilitate authentic learning and develop self-determined learning capabilities for healthcare professionals.


DBR- Design Principles in response to COVID

Transferable design principles will be introduced for enhancing healthcare education that will improve practice in a COVID19 world, particularly drawing from eight healthcare projects including: STUDIO602 – enhancing clinical practice with mobile technologies (Cochrane & Sinfield, 2021), developing a virtual reality handover experience for healthcare students (Cochrane et al., 2018), using immersive reality to develop critical thinking in clinical health education (Stretton et al., 2018), enhancing first responder clinical simulation education using immersive reality and biometrics (Cochrane et al., 2020), designing authentic learning for graduate entry nursing students (Macdiarmid et al., 2021), designing public and environmental health education (Kersey et al., 2018), Biomedical engineering (Lam et al., 2021), and physiology education (Fabris et al., 2019).

Presentation: https://doi.org/10.26188/19161041  


Chen, W., Sandars, J., & Reeves, T. C. (2020). Navigating complexity: The importance of design-based research for faculty development. Medical Teacher, 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1080/0142159X.2020.1774530

Cochrane, T., Aiello, S., Cook, S., Aguayo, C., & Wilkinson, N. (2020). MESH360: A framework for designing MMR enhanced Clinical Simulations [Journal]. Research in Learning Technology, 28(Mobile Mixed Reality - Themed Collection). https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v28.2357

Cochrane, T., Narayan, V., Aiello, S., Birt, J., Cowie, N., Cowling, M., Deneen, C., Goldacre, P., Alizadeh, M., Sinfield, D., Stretton, T., & Worthington, T. (2021, 29th November- 1st December 2021). Post Pandemic Socially Constructed Blended Synchronous Learning: Vignettes from the Mobile Learning SIG. ASCILITE 2021: 38th International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education, University of New England (UNE), Armidale, Australia.

Cochrane, T., & Sinfield, D. (2021). STUDIO602: A model for designing real world collaborations between Higher education and Industry. In K. MacCallum & D. Parsons (Eds.), Industry Practices, Processes and Techniques Adopted in Education - Supporting innovative teaching and learning practice (Vol. In preparation). Springer. http://davidparsons.ac.nz/industry-in-ed/

Cochrane, T., Stretton, T., Aiello, S., Britnell, S., Cook, S., & Narayan, V. (2018). Authentic Interprofessional Health Education Scenarios using Mobile VR [Journal]. Research in Learning Technology, 26, 2130. https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v26.2130

Fabris, C. P., Rathner, J. A., Fong, A. Y., & Sevigny, C. P. (2019). Virtual Reality in Higher Education. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (formerly CAL-laborate International), 27(8).

Kartoğlu, Ü., Siagian, R. C., & Reeves, T. C. (2020). Creating a "Good Clinical Practices Inspection" Authentic Online Learning Environment through Educational Design Research. TechTrends : for leaders in education & training, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-020-00509-0

Kersey, K., Lees, A., Conn, C., Cochrane, T., Narayan, V., & Williams, M. (2018). “Context matters”: The challenges and opportunities of designing tertiary public and environmental health education in South Auckland. Pacific Health, 1(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.24135/pacifichealth.v1i1.8

Lam, L., Cochrane, T., Rajagopal, V., Davey, K., & John, S. (2021). Enhancing student learning through trans-disciplinary project-based assessment in bioengineering. Pacific Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 3(1), 4-5. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjtel.v3i1.80

Macdiarmid, R., Winnington, R., Cochrane, T., & Merrick, E. (2021). Using educational design research to develop authentic learning for Graduate Entry Nursing students in New Zealand. Nurse Education in Practice, 102965. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2021.102965

Narayan, V., Cochrane, T., Aiello, S., Birt, J., Cowie, N., Cowling, M., Deneen, C., Goldacre, P., Alizadeh, M., Sinfield, D., Stretton, T., & Worthington, T. (2021, 29 November - 1 December). Mobile learning and socially constructed blended learning through the lens of Activity Theory. ASCILITE 2021: 38th International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education, University of New England (UNE), Armidale, Australia.

Stretton, T., Cochrane, T., & Narayan, V. (2018). Exploring Mobile Mixed Reality in Healthcare Higher Education: A Systematic Review [Journal]. Research in Learning Technology, 26, 2131. https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v26.2131


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Author Biographies

Thomas Cochrane, MCSHE, The University of Melbourne

Dr Thomas Cochrane is an Associate Professor, Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education, in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) at the University of Melbourne. In 2011 he was awarded as an ASCILITE Fellow http://www.ascilite.org.au/index.php?p=awards. His research interests include mobile learning, web 2.0, communities of practice, and the scholarship of technology enhanced learning (SOTEL). His PHD thesis was titled: "Mobilizing Learning: Transforming pedagogy with mobile web 2.0". Thomas has managed and implemented over 50 mobile learning projects, with a recent focus upon Android and iOS smartphones and the iPad as catalysts to enable student-generated content and student-generated learning contexts, bridging formal and informal learning environments. Thomas has a peer-reviewed research portfolio spanning over 50 journal articles, 32 book chapters, and over 140 conference proceedings (http://goo.gl/maps/YxkYP), receiving best paper awards at ASCILITE 2009, ALT-C 2011, ALT-C 2012, and IEEE-TALE2018. He has been invited to keynote at several international educational technology conferences including: the 2012 Australian Moodle Moot, the 2012 m-Libraries conference in the UK, the launch of UWS massive iPad project in February 2013, the 2014 IBSA VET Practitioners Conference in Melbourne, and an invited speaker at EdMedia2014 (Tampere, Finland), and an Educator In Residence at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University in September 2015. Thomas was co-principle investigator in the two-year AKO Aotearoa funded #NPF14LMD Learners and Mobile Devices project that scaffolded and showcased best practice across six New Zealand higher education institutions. Thomas was an invited keynote at the University of Western Australia’s Mlearning Summit in September 2016. In 2017 he was a member of the team winning the AUT Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence, Teaching Innovation Award. In 2017 he established the #SOTELNZ Research Cluster https://SOTEL.nz. In 2018 he was elected to the ASCILITE Executive, and became one of the first accredited Senior CMALT holders in 2018. In 2018 he co-established with Dr Vickel Narayan the annual SOTEL Symposium, and the Pacific Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning (PJTEL) https://ojs.aut.ac.nz/pjtel/index.php/pjtel/index .

Thomas is an AJET Associate Editor, an editorial board member of RLT, BJET, and IJMBL, a lead editor of PJTEL, lead guest editor of the special collection on Mobile Mixed Reality for the Research In Learning Technology journal, and the coordinator of the ASCILITE Mobile Learning Special Interest Group. He is a regular reviewer for a number of educational technology journals including: AJET, CHB, IJMBL, JCHE, C&E, and IEEEAccess.

Todd Stretton, Auckland University of Technology

PhD Candidate (UniMelb)

Faculty Academic Quality and Development Advisor

Lecturer- Physiotherapy
Auckland University of Technology

How to Cite
Cochrane, T., & Stretton, T. (2022). Enhancing Health Care Education and Practice Post COVID. Pacific Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 4(1), 8-9. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjtel.v4i1.121
SoTEL Symposium 2022