Evaluating the potential of iPads to actively engage paramedicine students in an authentic learning experience

Georgia Clarkson



Paramedicine students are required to develop the skills of assessing and managing clinical presentations to prepare them for practice. Active learning strategies that are student centred, facilitate collaboration and mirror workplace practices can assist the development of requisite skills. iPads provide a portable means of integrating audiovisual material into these clinical scenarios. Use of such material has the potential to add a degree of authenticity to this environment and require students to play a more active part in their learning.


This study introduced the ‘iPad-SFS’, a system for using iPads as a platform for introducing audiovisual material into practical classes, as a means of promoting active learning. Students completed a Likert scale survey inviting quantitative and qualitative feedback to evaluate the impact of this intervention on their learning experience.


The data indicated using iPads promoted engagement, enhanced realism, promoted a more collaborative and authentic learning experience and improved critical thinking.


Overall, the iPad based system impacted positively on student learning experience. Health professional educators in paramedicine should consider the use of system similar to iPad-SFS in practical classes.


iPads; active learning; collaborative learning; critical thinking; authenticity; simulation

Full Text:



Devenish AS, Clark MJ, Flemming M. Experiences in becoming a paramedic: the professional socialization of university qualified paramedics. Creat Educ 2016;7:786–801.

O’Meara PF, Tourle V, Stirling C, Walker J, Pedler D. Extending the paramedic role in rural Australia: a story of flexibility and innovation. Rural Remote Health 2012;12:1978.

Lazarsfeld-Jensen A. Telling stories out of school: experiencing the paramedic’s oral traditions and role dissonance. Nurse Educ Pract 2014;14:734–9.

Boitel CR, Fromm LR. Defining signature pedagogy in social work education: learning theory and the learning contract. J Soc Work Educ 2014;50:608–22.

Johnson M, Boyd L, Grantham H, Eastwood K. Paramedic principles and practice ANZ: a clinical reasoning approach. Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier; 2015.

Petress K. Critical thinking: an extended definition. Education 2004;124:461.

Chan ZC. A systematic review of critical thinking in nursing education. Nurse Educ Today 2013;33:236–40.

Carter H, Thompson J. Defining the paramedic process. Aust J Prim Health 2015;21:22–6.

Linwood R, Day G, FitzGerald G, Oldenburg B. Quality improvement and paramedic care. Int J Health Care Qual Assur 2007;20:405–15.

Michau R, Roberts S, Williams B, Boyle M. An investigation of theory-practice gap in undergraduate paramedic education. BMC Med Educ 2009;9:23.

Williams B, Nguyen D. Near-peer teaching in paramedic education: a repeated measures design. Innov Educ Teach Int 2016;1–10.

Fox M, Winship C, Williams W, et al. Peer-assisted teaching and learning in paramedic education: a pilot study. International Paramedic Practice 2015;5:22–8.

Moyer SM. Large group simulation: using combined teaching strategies to connect classroom and clinical learning. Teach Learn Nurs 2016;11:67–73.

Freeman S, Eddy SL, McDonough M, et al. Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Pro Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014;111:8410–5.

Brandon AF, All AC. Constructivism theory analysis and application to curricula. Nurs Educ Perspect 2010;31:89–92.

Slavich GM, Zimbardo PG. Transformational teaching: theoretical underpinnings, basic principles, and core methods. Educ Psychol Rev 2012;24:569–608.

Tirrell T, Quick D. Chickering’s Seven Principles of Good Practice: student attrition in community college online courses. Community College Journal of Research and Practice 2012;36:580–90.

Kim K, Sharma P, Land SM, Furlong KP. Effects of active learning on enhancing student critical thinking in an undergraduate general science course. Innov High Educ 2013;38:223–35.

Shin S, Park J, Kim J. Effectiveness of patient simulation in nursing education: meta-analysis. Nurse Educ Today 2015;35:176–82.

McKenna KD, Carhart E, Bercher D, Spain A, Todaro J, Freel J. Simulation use in paramedic education research (SUPER): a descriptive study. Prehosp Emerg Care 2015;19:432–40.

Williams B, Abel C, Khasawneh E, Ross L, Levett-Jones T. Simulation experiences of paramedic students: a cross-cultural examination. Adv Med Educ Pract 2016;7:181–6.

Bloch SA, Bloch AJ. Simulation training based on observation with minimal participation improves paediatric emergency medicine knowledge, skills and confidence. Emerg Med J 2015;32:195–202.

Kaplan BG, Abraham C, Gary R. Effects of participation vs. observation of a simulation experience on testing outcomes: implications for logistical planning for a school of nursing. Int J Nurs Educ Scholarsh 2012;9:1–15.

Scherer YK, Foltz-Ramos K, Fabry D, Chao YY. Evaluating simulation methodologies to determine best strategies to maximize student learning. J Prof Nurs 2016;32:349–57.

Diemer T, Fernandez E, Streepey J. Student perceptions of classroom engagement and learning using iPads. J Teach Learn Technol 2012;1:13–25.

Nguyen L, Barton SM, Nguyen LT. iPads in higher education–hype and hope. Br J Educ Technol 2015;46:190–203.

Davies R, Dean D, Ball N. Flipping the classroom and instructional technology integration in a college-level information systems spreadsheet course. Educ Tech Res Dev 2013;61:563–80.

Davies M. Using the Apple iPad to facilitate student-led group work and seminar presentation. Nurse Educ Pract 2014;14:363–7.

George P, Dumenco L, Doyle R, Dollase R. Incorporating iPads into a preclinical curriculum: a pilot study. Med Teach 2013;35:226–30.

Brown J, McCrorie P. The iPad: tablet technology to support nursing and midwifery student learning: an evaluation in practice. Comput Inform Nurs 2015;33:93–8.

O’Meara PF, Maguire B, Jennings P, Simpson P. Building an Australasian paramedicine research agenda: a narrative review. Health Res Policy Syst 2015;13:79.

McGarry BJ, Theobald K, Lewis PA, Coyer F. Flexible learning design in curriculum delivery promotes student engagement and develops metacognitive learners: an integrated review. Nurse Educ Today 2015;35:966–73.

Miller CJ, Metz MJ. A comparison of professional-level faculty and student perceptions of active learning: its current use, effectiveness, and barriers. Adv Physiol Educ 2014;38:246–52.

Roehl A, Reddy S, Shannon G. The flipped classroom: An opportunity to engage millennial students through active learning strategies. J Fam Consum Sci 2013;105:44–9.

Senette L, O’Malley M, Hendrix T. Passing the baton: using simulation to develop student collaboration. Clin Simul Nurs 2013;9:e39–46.

Harris L. Secondary teachers’ conceptions of student engagement: engagement in learning or in schooling? Teach Teach Educ 2011;27:376–86.

Bennett S, Maton K, Kervin L. The ‘digital natives’ debate: a critical review of the evidence. Br J Educ Technol 2008;39:775–86.

Pearce J, Down B. Relational pedagogy for student engagement and success at university. Aust Educ Res 2011;38:483–94.

Gunuc S, Kuzu A. Student engagement scale: development, reliability and validity. Assess Eval High Educ 2015;40:587–610.

Crosling G, Heagney M, Thomas L. Improving student retention in higher education: improving teaching and learning. Australian Universities Review 2009;51:9–18.

Burkholder GJ, Holland N. International perspectives on retention and persistence. High Learn Res Commun 2014;4:3–10.

Rocca K. Student participation in the college classroom: an extended multidisciplinary literature review. Commun Educ 2010;59:185–213.

Masika R, Jones J. Building student belonging and engagement: insights into higher education students’ experiences of participating and learning together. Teach High Educ 2016;21:138–50.

Hardman J. Tutor–student interaction in seminar teaching: implications for professional development. Active Learn High Educ 2016;17:63–76.

Levett-Jones T, Gilligan C, Lapkin S, Hoffman K. Interprofessional education for the quality use of medicines: designing authentic multimedia learning resources. Nurse Educ Today 2012;32:934–8.

Willis S. Student paramedics’ perceptions of action learning: a mixed-method study. J Paramedic Prac 2014;6:626–32.

Thompson J, Grantham H, Houston D. Paramedic capstone education model: building work ready graduates. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine 2015;12(3).

Boyle MJ, Wallis J. The glut of graduate paramedics – What do we do with them? ibid. 2015;12(5).

McCall L, Wray N, Lord B. Factors affecting the education of pre-employment paramedic students during the clinical practicum. ibid. 2009;7(4).

Whyte DG, Madigan V, Drinkwater EJ. Predictors of academic performance of nursing and paramedic students in first year bioscience. Nurse Educ Today 2011;31:849–54.

Sahu S, Lata I. Simulation in resuscitation teaching and training, an evidence based practice review. J Emerg Trauma Shock 2010;3:378–84.

Weaver A. High-fidelity patient simulation in nursing education: an integrative review. Nurs Educ Perspect 2011;32:37–40.

Dickinson T, Hopton J, Pilling M. An evaluation of nursing students’ perceptions on the efficacy of high fidelity clinical simulation to enhance their confidence, understanding and competence in managing psychiatric emergencies. J Clin Nurs 2016;25:1476–8.

Waycott J, Dalgarno B, Kennedy G, Bishop A. Making science real: photo-sharing in biology and chemistry. Research in Learning Technology 2012;201–14.

Williams A. A study of emotion work in student paramedic practice. Nurse Educ Today 2013;33:512–7.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

The Official Journal of Paramedics Australasia © 2017                           ISSN: 2202-7270