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Background: Activity-based learning (ABL) aims to bridge gaps between technically specific knowledge, contextually specific knowledge and sensitize learners to the discrepancy between these two when they apply their academic knowledge into practice. ABL is, therefore, an integral part of learning to nurse students due to its position as a practice-based profession. At Boromarajonani College of Nursing, Nakhon, Lampang (BCNLP), ABL course is introduced to first-year students to prepare them for this method of learning in the following years which involves more complex courses. To foster the higher-order thinking skills among learners, we integrate an inquiry process into the ABL course.
Objective: The authors presented (1) a philosophical foundation and methodologies informing the design of ABL course, learning design principles, steps of integrated inquiry, activity-based learning (CIA), and (2) lessons learned and guidelines for CIA.
Results: The philosophy underpinning the CIA was Buddhist enactive transformation which emphasized learning through self-engaging in real-life practice within one's social environments. Based on this philosophical foundation, four existing learning methodologies were integrated to foster enactive transformative learning. These included: activity-based learning, inquiry-based learning, contract learning, and group-based learning. These methods provided seven principles for designing learning activities; real-life practice, self-directedness, expert consultation, effective teamwork, inquiry process, reflection, and facilitation. We then developed steps of learning and tools as well as corresponding learning outcomes. The course evaluation revealed that CIA raised awareness of learners about the importance of learning by doing, sensitized them to gaps between classroom knowledge and real-world contexts, and fostered skills in applying knowledge into practice. CIA learners achieved not only specified learning outcomes but also acquired other higher learning skills. Guidelines for designing and effectively implementing CIA included: the guiding philosophy, well-integrated learning methodologies, corresponding learning/teaching principles, effective learning steps and tools, evaluation of learning outcomes as well as learners, teachers' and experts preparation in relation to the above.
Conclusion and recommendation: CIA which integrated inquiry process, learning contract and group process into ABL was effective in fostering course's specified learning outcomes and higher learning skills among first-year nursing students. The recommended guidelines should be adopted in designing future ABL course.