Exploring 360° feedback to develop undergraduates’ communication skills

Tuesday 21 March 2017, 12.30pm to 2.00pm

Speakers: Rachel Lavelle and Helen Bedford, midwifery lecturers in the Department of Health Sciences
Location: Room LMB/036X lecture room, Law Management Building, Heslington east campus

Workshop Summary

This workshop will explore the value and challenges of facilitating feedback on communication skills performance from a range of sources (e.g. self-reflection, peer and lecturer feedback) during simulated but realistic professional scenarios. Lecturer-devised contemporary scenarios are at the heart of the innovation, featuring professional actors in the roles of simulated patients and staff.

The session will be facilitated by Rachel Lavelle and Helen Bedford, midwifery lecturers in the Department of Health Sciences. It will be of relevance to staff facilitating communication skills development amongst undergraduates of all disciplines.

We will welcome your active engagement in the session to explore how effective 360 feedback can be achieved.

Workshop Report

by session chair, Glenn Hurst

Helen Bedford & Rachel Lavelle

Helen and Rachel facilitated an excellent workshop on discussing how the development of communication skills can be facilitated throughout degree programmes together with associated assessment and feedback mechanisms. To accomplish this in the Department of Health Sciences, they place particular emphasis on utilising ‘360°degree feedback

A cohort size studying BA (Hons) Midwifery Practice at York will typically consist of 23 students and the programme has been specifically designed to embed the enhancement of student communication skills throughout. During University based clinical skills and theory modules which have core communication components, students typically receive feedback via self-reflection and from peers and lecturers. In clinical practice modules students engage in self-assessment and professional midwives act as mentors and assessors. During the second year Professional Relationships module, midwifery practice scenarios/active simulations are created with the help of professional actors for individual students, where their performances providing care and communicating effectively are formatively assessed. These sessions are also video-recorded to allow for subsequent self-reflection. A typical example would be to simulate a telephone conversation with a pregnant woman where the student must establish a relationship with the woman, use their tone of voice effectively and demonstrate negotiation skills. Summative assessment takes the form of a reflective essay.

Workshop participants were encouraged to consider how they develop, assess and provide feedback for the development of student communication skills. Examples included peer-to-peer learning, presentations, vivas, team-based learning and facilitation of teaching/outreach sessions to school pupils.

Helen and Rachel then went on to describe what 360° degree feedback is (a system where students can receive feedback from those around them) and how they have applied this to inform their practice. An adapted version of Pendleton’s rules1 are used as a model to inform how feedback is provided following the simulated scenarios in midwifery:

  1. Student reflects on performance and identifies what went well
  2. Actor (in-character) reflects on performance and identifies what went well
  3. Student peers reflect on performance and identify what went well
  4. Actor (out-of-character) reflects on performance and identifies what went well
  5. Academic reflects on performance and identifies what went well
  6. Student identifies ways to improve
  7. Actor (in-character) identifies ways to improve
  8. Student peers identify ways to improve
  9. Actor (out-of-character) identifies ways to improve
  10. Academic identifies ways to improve

The sessions ended with participants discussing the challenges of providing 360° feedback and considering as to whether such a system could be implemented with their own students.

[1]: http://www.gptraining.net/training/educational_theory/feedback/pendleton.htm

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