How do instructors test students in Context Based Learning?


I just attended the information meet and greet session for my RN program. We were told that we will be doing some of our nursing classes using CBL format. The classmates I had sitting at my table were wondering just exactly how do the instructors mark us on that?



105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

Is this your program? This learning delivery method looks intriguing:

Context-Based Learning

Context Based Learning (CBL), promotes and enhances active student learning and integration of knowledge. Our students are not just faces in the crowd; they have a say in how they learn.

Students work in small groups under the guidance of a tutor. They explore a series of scenarios which integrate content from nursing, physical sciences, medical sciences, social sciences and humanities. Each scenario is designed as a type of story, which provides information about a patient, his or her life situation, and various health issues or problems. As a group, our students decide what they need to know to resolve the health issues. Clear course objectives are provided to assist students, and tutors will ensure that students learn the necessary content.

Nursing practice occurs in concentrated blocks of time in each term in a variety of settings, including a community and an institutional experience in each year of the program. These experiences enable graduates to be comfortable in a variety of health care settings.

This student-centred approach to active learning facilitates knowledge and psychomotor skills acquisition, as well as development of skills related to critical thinking, team work, and lifelong learning. Our students learn how to learn!

My advice would be to try to keep a positive attitude and an open mind about this innovative learning method. From your post, I can see that your main concern is with the group projects - specifically having to deal with "slackers." Without a doubt, "slack" students are a big disadvantage of group projects. There are ways that teachers work around this, however. One is a device called a rubric. This is an objective scoring mechanism which members of the group use to anonymously and confidentially score one another as to dependability and equal share of work, etc. The instructor uses the results of the rubric to formulate scores for each member of the group. This way, the "slackers" are penalized and those who contribute more are rewarded.


215 Posts

Yes I think you captured Context Based Learning to a Tee.

Thanks for your insight on this. :specs:


105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.
Yes I think you captured Context Based Learning to a Tee. I think it will certainly be different for me and quite exciting at times to contribute and work as a team. Beats the drudgery of 3 hour lectures.

Thanks for your insight on this. :specs:

Glad to be of assistance :) Best wishes with your schooling :balloons:


11 Posts

glad to be of assistance :) best wishes with your schooling :balloons:

i just began nursing school a month ago and my whole nursing program uses context-based learning and i was like you, wondering how the heck it was all going to work and was thinking about all my past experiences of group work, how there was always someone who slacked off and someone who would end up doing most of the work. but that's not how it's turned out to be at all. i have 12 people in my nursing 190 class where the cbl is used and we all do/research the "scenarios" together and come up with the questions about what we need/want to know about the scenario. we make sure we have 12 headings so there is one for each of us to go and research on our own. this is where the self-directed learning component comes in. we then bring our research back to the class, everyone gets a copy of our assignment and we present our findings to the class. it's important for everyone to thoroughly research everything we were assigned because we will be tested on it, so that is the motivation for everyone to do their best because it won't hurt only them but everyone and vice versa.

i had my first cbl nursing midterm last week and what you needed to study was the "core concept map" which showed all the topics, like growth and development of the people in the scenarios, nursing practice, sociology topics, nursing profession etc. and so on, information from the nursing lab. you weren't so much tested straight forwardly about the info but it's application of the information. it's actually quite difficult to prepare for these exams. my instructor refers to them as "written learning experiences" rather than tests. we haven't gotten our marks back yet and i'm really curious to see how i did. she has said that people often have a hard time getting these first marks back becasue so many people who come to nursing are used to being straight-a students and then they don't get those marks right off.

any more comments about cbl, especially from students further on in it??? like tips on the exams??? :rotfl:

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