Curricular Factors that Unintentionally Affect Learning in a Community-Based Interprofessional Education Program: The Student Perspective

Shelley Anne Doucet, Diane MacKenzie, Elaine Loney, Anne Godden-Webster, Heidi Lauckner, Peggy Alexiadis Brown, Cynthia Andrews, Tanya L. Packer


Background: The Dalhousie Health Mentors Program (DHMP) is a community-based, pre-licensure interprofessional education initiative that aims to prepare health professional students for collaborative practice in the care of patients with chronic conditions. This program evaluation explores the students’ 1) learning and plans to incorporate skills into future practice; 2) ratings of program content, delivery, and assignments; 3) perspectives of curricular factors that inadvertently acted as barriers to learning; and 4) program improvement suggestions.

Methods: All students (N = 745) from the 16 participating health programs were invited to complete an online mixed methods program evaluation survey at the conclusion of the 2012–2013 DHMP. A total of 295 students (40% response rate) responded to the Likert-type questions analyzed using descriptive and non-parametric statistics. Of these students, 204 (69%) provided responses to 10 open-ended questions, which were analyzed thematically.

Findings: While the majority of respondents agreed that they achieved the DHMP learning objectives, the mixed-methods approach identified curriculum integration, team composition, and effectiveness of learning assignments as factors that unintentionally acted as barriers to learning, with three key student recommendations for program improvement.

Conclusions: Educators and program planners need to be aware that even well-intended learning activities may result in unintended experiences that hamper interprofessional learning.


Interprofessional education; Longitudinal; Health mentors program; Health professional student; Curriculum; Unintended; Barriers; Recommendations; Lessons learned

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