Mini-research projects

Use of evaluation research to ascertain if GoToTraining™ online conferencing can be used as an effective and enjoyable way to introduce radiographers and assistant practitioners to CPD and CPD Now

Purpose

The purpose of this research was to investigate if the GoToTraining™ platform could be used as an effective and enjoyable way to introduce radiographers and assistant practitioners to continuing professional development (CPD) and CPD Now, the Society and College of Radiographers’ (SCoR) online continuing professional development planning, recording and evaluation too.

Methods and materials

GoToTraining™ is a commercial, interactive, online conferencing tool with polling, quiz, screen share and swap presenter features, similar to online conferencing systems used in the academic setting but with more features than standard video conferencing or webinar software.  It facilitates a catalogue of trainings which can be embedded in webpages and manages the administration of participant registration, cancellation and active participation.  Evaluation research was used to answer the research question and ascertain if the platform could be used for the purpose of delivering CPD tutorials.

Results

Results collated from post-tutorial questionnaire responses were extremely positive.  Respondents enjoyed the tutorials and found the platform easy to use once they overcame external, and often workplace, technical difficulties.

Conclusion

GoToTraining™ can be used as an effective and enjoyable tool to deliver CPD, and potentially other tutorials to SoR members.

Impact

Research findings were implemented into the Online Live Tutorial branded CPD programme of CPD and accreditation tutorials delivered by the Professional Officer for Education and Accreditation which ran until mid-2019.

The research findings were presented to the UK Interprofessional Group CPD Forum.  This forum is attended by more than 40 professional body representatives, all with an interest in providing CPD opportunities to their members.

Development for publication in peer reviewed journal recommended by Professor Don Passey, PhD programme lead.


A framework for an engaging online continuing professional development community of practice for healthcare professionals

Purpose

The aim of this project was to systematically review literature in order to ascertain components and provider behaviours that make an engaging online continuing professional development (CPD) community of practice (CoP) for healthcare professionals and to create a prototype theoretical framework that can be tested in future studies.

Methods and materials

A systematic literature review was carried out and peer reviewed journal articles were located that met the inclusion and exclusion criteria set prior to the search.  Articles from 2006 onwards were considered relevant as they could have incorporated discussion on both traditional online tools and also more recent social media developments.

Results

Fifteen articles were located and reviewed.  One-hundred and ninety components of online communities of practice were identified and these were collated into sixteen themes.  The themes were integrated into a framework which could be used to instigate and implement a new community of practice for healthcare professionals.

Conclusion

Online CoPs have been defined and have been found to be relevant to professionals’ CPD requirements.  CoPs should include several component, not least facilitation, expert users, activities and clarity around the benefits to the users as individuals.  Measures of participant engagement have been investigated and although there is no definitive answer to this, suggestions have been made to enable online CoP to produce their own measures.

A new framework, grounded in education and learning theory, has been proposed that integrates these themes.  The framework takes into account healthcare professionals’ motivations and the perceived barriers that prevent active participation.

Impact

Where possible, as many of the sixteen necessary components for an engaging community of practice have been implanted and used with The Education Forum, SCoR’s online forum for course leaders, admission tutors and clinical coordinators.

Should SCoR ever evolve the forum provision for members to more resemble communities of practice, the learning from and thus impact of this work would be substantial for members.


Radiographers’ experiences and perceptions of using a framework to record CPD in an online system which supports reflective practice

Purpose

Anecdotal and published evidence suggests that radiographers find continuing professional development (CPD) confusing and unstructured.  The College of Radiographers provides an online CPD system for identifying, planning and recording CPD which members can use to structure their CPD but many report doing ad hoc CPD.  The purpose of this research was to investigate if a framework developed to describe and measure cognitive elements of learning in a formal educational setting could be adapted and used to structure CPD which takes place in a clinical setting, and is recorded in an online CPD system. 

Methodology and methods

A qualitative survey methodology was proposed and utilising semi-structured interviews radiographers were questioned about their CPD experiences and perceptions of using the framework to support CPD.

Results

Interviewees reported having an unstructured approach to CPD, often combining paper and the online system.  After reviewing the framework, they indicated they would find it helpful in structuring their CPD in order to enhance the impact it has on their practice and service users.

Conclusion

The framework could be integrated into the online system to provide structure to radiographers’ CPD.  A combination of the framework and reflection could lead to enhanced impact from CPD.

Impact

Participants, who were all experienced radiographers or sonographers, indicated that the framework was very useful in helping them structure their CPD and to move away from ad hoc methods of recording it.  Some were going to introduce the framework to their colleagues at their CPD clubs.

The framework could be developed further and implemented into CPD Now enabling all members to develop their CPD recording and reflection methods and thus improve their practice and the service they deliver to the people they image and treat.


How does educational and professional culture shape the use of the Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training (VERT)™ for teaching radiotherapeutic clinical skills in the United Kingdom, Australia and Denmark?

Purpose

To discuss potential globalisation of therapeutic radiography education and to identify how the educational culture in different countries shapes the use of the virtual environment for radiotherapy training (VERT) for teaching radiotherapy treatment concepts.  The traditional educational culture both on campus and placement in the United Kingdom, Australia and Denmark will be considered along with how the virtual reality system is being used to compliment or challenge the traditional educational culture and pedagogy.

Methods and materials

A systematic literature review was carried out using the database Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) to locate literature.  Hand searching of relevant journals added further publications.

Results

Twenty-one articles were reviewed.  Most publications described research carried out in the UK.  One article was found related to VERT in Denmark and three from Australia.  Traditional and VERT teaching cultures were extracted and transformed into eight themes; clinical skills, knowledge and understanding, benefits to learners, teaching with VERT, ancillary resources, barriers, ancillary benefits and research and evaluation.

Conclusion

The educational culture in the UK, Denmark and Australia for teaching radiotherapeutic skills is very similar.  VERT, where it is used to full effect, can complement the traditional methods by enabling students to learn in a safe environment.  There is a lack of literature discussing educational culture in radiotherapy departments in conjunction with VERT.

Impact

Through the gaps identified in this research I was able to speak in support of a VERT related project proposal when I represented SoR on a Office for Students Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines (SIHED) challenge fund panel.  The project investigating if VERT could be used to replace traditional clinical placement time was funded.


Networked learning and CPD: How are practitioners being signposted?

Purpose

The purpose of this work was to present findings of policy document analysis carried out to critically appraise UK healthcare continuing professional development (CPD) policy and to make recommendations to the Society and College of Radiographers for the use of networked learning for CPD.

Methodology and methods

Qualitative document analysis was used to interrogate guidance and policy documents from the UK’s NHS education departments, the statutory regulator, professional body and NHS strategic planning publications.  Documents were reviewed, and analysis questions posed in order to draw consensus on networked learning for healthcare professionals’ CPD.

Results

Eleven documents were reviewed and the term “networked learning” did not appear in any of them, leading to the conclusion that the term is not well recognised outside of the higher education environment.  Deeper analysis showed that although the term is unfamiliar the main elements of networked learning are being undertaking by healthcare practitioners, usually under the guise of social media or social networking.

Conclusion

There is scope for the College of Radiographers to update their CPD guidance document and to enhance the practical guidance on using online discussions and collaborations for CPD.  Some members may need more guidance than others so an interactive resource which directs member to appropriate information and guidance personalised to their own needs may be of more use than a static document.

Impact

Should CPD form part of the updated Education and Career Framework, then this work will be invaluable in encouraging SoR members to see the benefits of networked learning/social learning.  Alternatively, there is a strong argument for including this method of learning in an updated CPD guidance document.