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Implementing distance teaching at a large scale in medical education: a struggle between dominant and non-dominant teaching activities
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3985-7848
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2013 (English)In: Education and Information Technologies: Official Journal of the IFIP technical committee on Education, ISSN 1360-2357, E-ISSN 1573-7608, Vol. 20, no 2, 359-380 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines possibilities and challenges when implementing distance teaching of theoretical content in a regionalized medical program (RMP). It will be argued that Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) and the concepts of dominant and non-dominant activities, including conflicts and transitional actions, can lead to an understanding of the distance teaching implementation process. The concepts further provide a theoretical lens through which one can understand the complex relationship between the established and historically rooted, face-to-face teaching activity and the new non-dominant distance teaching activity introduced in the educational setting. Data in the study was collected through an online survey, log data, observations, and in-depth interviews. During the analysis, conflicts between the dominant face-to-face teaching and non-dominant distance teaching activity were identified, and they partly inhibited medical teachers at the program from adopting and developing distance teaching. By illustrating transitional actions as small, innovative bottom-up solutions, further analysis revealed how medical teachers tried to overcome those conflicts to facilitate the adoption and development of distance teaching. The non-dominant distance teaching activity, even if not fully adopted, actually influenced and facilitated change in educational practice. The discussion argues that understanding the implementation of a non-dominant teaching activity in medical education in terms of mere success or failure is not fruitful. Instead, we should strive for sensitivity by closely analyzing the implementation process as interplay between dominant and non-dominant teaching activities. Such sensitivity will make it possible to cultivate future educational development and change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Springer Science+Business Media B.V., 2013. Vol. 20, no 2, 359-380 p.
Keyword [en]
Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, Dominant and non-dominant activities, Distance teaching, Regionalized medical program
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-83387DOI: 10.1007/s10639-013-9289-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-83387DiVA: diva2:666291
Available from: 2013-11-22 Created: 2013-11-22 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Learning to be at a distance: structural and educational change in the digitalization of medical education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Learning to be at a distance: structural and educational change in the digitalization of medical education
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As an expression of current challenges faced by contemporary societies, past decades have witnessed heavy demands for higher education to change and transform. One key question here has been the increased digitalization of higher education. Within this wider setting, this thesis deals with an attempt to handle the increasing shortage of physicians in Sweden by way of digitalizing medical education. The aim of this explorative and longitudinal thesis is to describe and analyze structural and educational transformation work in medical education during the digitalization of the program and the transition from face-to-face to distance education. This thesis focuses on teachers, students and management, who are all heavily involved in this transition of the medical program. Two questions guide the research: (1) what are teachers’ and students’ expectations pending the transition, and what are the influences of already established tools and activities on the program and (2) in what ways do conflicts and changes occur over time, and how do teachers, students, and management deal with these as part of the transition? Cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) serves as the theoretical framework of the thesis. In particular, the concepts of dominant and non-dominant activities, conflicts, transitional actions, and levels of learning inform the analysis. The data are generated by surveys (N = 108), logging of actors’ activity patterns (N = 100 teachers and 100 students), field studies (65 hours), and interviews (N = 62). The data cover teachers’, students’ and management’s roles in the transition. The analysis shows that the way of theoretically understanding the transition – from a dominant face-to-face activity to a new and unproven non-dominant distance activity – have proved to contribute to deeper understanding of the process of digitalizing medical education. The analysis further displays how the transition from face-to-face to distance education creates considerable conflicts that over time force teachers, students and management into structural and educational transformation work. This type of work successively renders new educational design solutions and new flexible ways of organizing distance medical education. This thesis discusses how the structural and educational transformation work forces actors to collectively engage in the transition by experimenting with new suitable methods and designs, as digital technologies and technology-enhanced learning (TEL) could make sense to teachers and students when they are at a distance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2015. 89 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 115
Keyword
Distance education, medical education, medical program, regionalized medical program, rural clinical school, digitalization, digital technologies, technology-enhanced learning, TEL, cultural-historical activity theory, CHAT, transition, transformation, conflicts, contradictions, dominant- non-dominant activities, levels of learning
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-110740 (URN)978-91-7601-356-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-11-20, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-10-29 Created: 2015-10-27 Last updated: 2017-06-02Bibliographically approved

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Pettersson, FannyOlofsson, Anders D

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