Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Murphy, S. Hartigan, I. Walshe, N. Barrett, T;
2011 March
Flexible Learning: Proceedings of the National Academy's Fourth Annual Conference
The development of a theoretical model of Integrative Learning for use in professional programmes.
University College Cork
University College Cork
In Press
Optional Fields








The Higher Education Authority position paper (2009) and the Hunt Report (2010) specify the changes that need to occur within higher education in Ireland over the next twenty years. Teaching and learning approaches have to mirror the demands and complexities of healthcare practice, as well as meeting the requirements of educational authorities and professional regulatory bodies such as An Bord Altranais (ABA) for the professional practice of nursing in Ireland. This paper introduces a theoretical model of Integrative Learning which evolved from an in depth exploration of teaching and learning concepts and demonstrates how they can be applied to practice based discipline. For the purpose of this paper integrative learning is defined according to Huber and Hutching (2004) as a learning theory describing how students can make connections across curricula and requires a commitment and intentionality on behalf of learners












According to Higgs (2008) neighbouring concepts promote our understanding of integrative learning namely border crossings, wormholes, threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge. Conceptualising this model creates greater awareness and understanding for educators on how to actively engage students with learning. This model has the potential to enrich the learning experience for undergraduate nursing students in preparation for independent professional practice on registration. Critical thinking and decision making skills are increasingly necessary for nursing practice (Clark and Hott, 2001). Teaching approaches such as problem based learning (PBL) and simulation can embody and stimulate critical thinking and decision making skills in students (Murphy et al., 2010 in press). In this contribution, we developed a case study to demonstrate a theoretical model of Integrative Learning. Equally, this model is transferable to other professional practice programmes. Theoretical concepts and key fundamental components of the learning process a theoretical model of Integrative Learning which are aligned to the core elements of education for nursing practice are introduced.








This paper focuses on a theoretical model which underpins the development and delivery of a nursing module. As nurse educators we wanted to ensure this module was responsive to the changing demands of current health services. Therefore we conducted qualitative research using focus groups to identify challenging acute nursing events (CANE) which qualified nurses¿ perceive as difficult for new nurse graduates in clinical practice (Hartigan et al., 2010). The delivery of this module needed to be aligned with enquiry-based integrative teaching and learning approaches. Subsequently, we merged two student-centered learning approaches namely problem-based learning (PBL) and Simulation (Murphy et al., 2010).


Key Words;



Innovative teaching and learning approaches, wormholes, border crossings, troublesome knowledge, threshold concepts, integrative learning.












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