Teaching Learning Theory Essay

Teaching-Learning Theory

Nurses are the primary caretakers of patients. They observe and manage patients. Nurses also help develop treatment plans. Regaining a stable health condition requires continuous management and assessment. The nursing practice is an opportunity to both educate patients and learn from everyday issues (Reynolds, et al, 2020). For instance, how to relate to different patients is challenging. It is important to learn how to cope with different personalities. It is an opportunity to learn from every patient. Some conditions also bring out different personalities. An autistic patient requires special interaction different from those who aren’t autistic. This essay tackles the challenging teaching situation in nursing practice.  Teaching Learning Theory Essay

Nurses are teachers. Medical practice is very diverse. A senior doctor might be unaware of an alternative treatment. Nurses can act as educators to remind them of these options. The most common teaching activity for nurses is related to patients and patients’ caretakers. Treatment is a process that requires specific instructions. Nurses educate patients on prescriptions, self-injections, treatment plans, and eating habits. They are also obligated to educate those who take care of less privileged patients (Reynolds, et al, 2020). Human beings, however, are creatures of habit and error. Change one’s lifestyle based on a brief teaching moment is challenging. Patients end up returning to the hospital more than once due to failed treatment. Other patients do not understand instructions and treatment plans.

Personally, a challenging teaching situation included teaching 68-years-old Liam how to adhere to a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease care plan. With the patient being discharged, the nurse care plan had to be detailed on self-care. The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease involves infections that chunk airflow, making it hard to breathe. The disease is caused by infections or routines that impair the lungs and airways. Treatment involves regulating conditions related to the disease (Wang, et al, 2017). The patient survival depended on strict adherence to the nurse’s care plan. It is essential that the patient realizes that failure to manage the conditions and habits accelerating the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could lead to death. The care plan was more inhibited by the patient being an addicted smoker.  Teaching Learning Theory Essay

Habits of the mind had to be applied in coming up with care plan. Creativity helped re-engineer the nurse care plan according to the patients’ requirements. Flexibility was used to modernize the nurse’s interventions to activities that the patient could do independently (Bernard, 2019). It is often challenging to deal with elderly patients. Some of them crave respect, while others require being treated strictly to follow instructions. The patient in reference was complicated to deal with. He deliberately ignored instructions even while under medical care. To explicitly show the patient the importance of the care plan and the fatal repercussions required confidence.

Teaching the patient required him to learn and adapt. The most effective learning domain for Liam was the affective domain. The patient was unresponsive to cognitive learning. Cognitive learning requires the patient to analyze and evaluate their condition. Patients adjust according to these evaluations (Bernard, 2019). The patient failed to see the relevance of these repercussions. He repeatedly tried to smoke a cigarette in the hospital washrooms. Treating Liam with respect and love garnered more results. The patient committed to regular exercise and diet change. It also provided hope in discharging the patient. It seems unethical to discharge a patient who cannot understand the importance of taking care of themselves.

The patient was either ignorant or really unaware of his condition. In critical learning theory, the engagement with the patient helps realize what the patient knows and what they need to know (Bernard, 2019). It was evident that the patient had no relevant information on the causes and management measures of the disease. The critical theory also helps build the patient’s awareness. Liam reacted well to developmental learning after critical learning built a perspective of how much information he needed. The teaching had to start from the basics of the disease.

The patient discharge only intensified the challenge. The adult learning theory percepts that adults are both internally-motivated and self-directed (Bernard, 2019). The treatment plan required Liam to be self-responsible for his environment once discharged. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients are affected by unfavorable conditions. Smoky, dusty, or dry air causes airway blockage (Wang, et al, 2017). Self-awareness of these conditions could help manage this disease. The motivation was a key factor when it came to Liam. Quitting a smoking addiction requires self-motivation.

A nurse care plan involves intervention and a rationale for the intervention. The patients have to understand why they are taking the activity in a self-care plan (Wang, et al, 2017). A cognitive learning theory involves a change in thought process (Bernard, 2019). The patient showed signs of adherence to the treatment plan. The challenge was in the habits that took time to adapt. Liam was admitted twice in the next month after being discharged, complaining of difficulties in breathing. It was evident that quitting smoking was difficult for him. He was later admitted to a care home center.  Teaching Learning Theory Essay



Bernard, R. O. (2019). Nurse educators teaching through the lens of transformative

learning theory. Journal of Nursing Education58(4), 225-228. https://journals.healio.com/doi/abs/10.3928/01484834-20190321-07

Reynolds, L. M., Attenborough, J., & Halse, J. (2020). Nurses as educators: creating

teachable moments in practice. Nursing Times116(2), 25-28. https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/23677/

Wang, T., Tan, J. Y., Xiao, L. D., & Deng, R. (2017). Effectiveness of disease-specific

self-management education on health outcomes in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Patient education and counseling100(8), 1432-1446. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0738399117301179

Theory and Collaborative Practice
Module 3
Critical Thinking

The skill of critical thinking is essential in the information age and certainly of primary importance to nurses as they apply rapidly developing scientific findings to very complex health care situations.

What is Critical Thinking?

Whether you look in recent nursing textbooks and journals or surf the web you will find no standard definition of critical thinking. However it is an old idea which dates back to Socrates and challenges all of us to pay as much attention to the process of our thinking as we do to accumulating facts and ideas. We have all used the nursing process to arrive at decisions about care. This systematic problem solving approach uses some of the features of critical thinking but is not the same as critical thinking. Rather the nurse thinks critically at each step in the nursing process. Critical thinking is more than sound clinical decision making.

Habits of the Mind

Researchers – Sheffer and Rubenfeld – conducted an extensive research study to describe critical thinking in nursing. These investigators used a Delphi sort technique to arrive at a consensus of critical thinking in nursing. The results of this study identified 10 Habits of the Mind and 7 Necessary Skills for critical thinking in nursing.

Habits of the mind are qualities or conditions that predispose individuals to think critically. These are fostered in the environment in which persons learn nursing.
The 10 habits of the mind include the following:

Confidence is gained when the learning environment is safe and mistakes can be made on the journey to a workable alternative. For instance, the anxiety that one experiences as a new graduate is gradually replaced with confidence that permits using higher order thinking.

Contextual perspective is the kind of broad brush that considers the whole. This is the kind of view that nursing has of persons and situations. We often look at all extenuating circumstances.

 is generating, restructuring, discovering, and imagining alternatives. Exercises in concept mapping or mind mapping can foster creativity and thinking out of the box.

 requires being able to adapt, change ideas, and change behaviors.

Inquisitiveness or intellectual curiosity
 is an eagerness to learn through a variety of methods.

Intellectual integrity involves seeking knowledge through a deliberate, sincere, and honest process. Verification and validation before premature closure is characteristic of this habit. Get all the facts before making the call.

Intuition is often discounted but is an important habit which refers to insightful knowing without conscious reasoning.

Open-mindedness involves recognizing our biases and being willing to give up preconceived notions. This habit focuses on being non-judgmental. Teaching Learning Theory Essay

Perseverance is the habit of going back for more information or to try other alternatives. It could be characterized by trial and error.

Reflection involves revisiting a subject, problem or action to analyze and interpret the information that is recalled. It is an important habit for self-evaluation.

Sheffer, B.K. & Rubenfeld, M.G. (2000). A consensus statement on critical thinking in

nursing. Journal of Nursing Education, 39,352-359.

Necessary Skills for Critical Thinking

The international panel of experts (Scheffer & Rubenfeld, 2000) also identified the following 7 critical thinking necessary skills for nurses:

Analyzing is the skill of breaking apart wholes to examine each part and studying the nature, function and relationships of the parts to the whole.

Applying standards requires individuals to compare or judge something according to a set of criteria. Nurses are often required to do this. For example, think about critical pathways or checking a patient’s vital signs or blood sugar.

Discriminating is the skill which allows nurses to categorize phenomenon and to sort data that is relevant or important from that which is not. This skill is used when we assess patients and decide what is within normal or expected limits and what is not.

Information seeking is the skill of knowing when and where to seek evidence, using reliable resources, and verifying or adding to data and impressions. This is perhaps one of the most important critical thinking skills in view of the rapid expansion of scientific knowledge. No one can know it all or teach it all, but everyone should know where to look for answers.

Logical reasoning is used by nurses to draw a conclusion based on the evidence. When using logical reasoning the nurse needs to carefully differentiate fact and opinion, and examine the assumptions underlying a course of action.

Predicting involves envisioning what the outcome should be of a particular action. This skill grows with years of practice and clinical memory.

Transforming knowledge is the skill of taking classroom or textbook knowledge and transferring it to clinical situations.

Learning & Critical Thinking

Knowledge is a necessary foundation to critical thinking. We must have some foundational knowledge to engage in critical thinking.

Critical thinking operationalizes knowledge, and is both a solitary and social activity. Accordingly, learning environments should foster both types of activities. For example, assignments in this course are all designed to elicit critical thinking habits and skills. Weekly discussion groups also facilitate critical thinking as ideas and opinions are presented to one another for reactions, suggestions, and debate.

Strategies to Enhance Critical Thinking Ability

Some basic rules to help exercise the habits of the mind include:

  • No idea is a bad idea
  • Be creative
  • Take risks
  • Only constructive criticism allowed
  • Contribute evidence from current reliable sources
  • Be flexible
  • Keep an open mind

In regards to enhancing critical thinking ability during our discussions in this course, consider the following:

1.    Try to anticipate the questions others may ask in order to think further about an issue.

2.    Examine alternative scenarios by asking “what if” questions.

3.    Routinely look for flaws in thinking by asking what is missing or what can be improved.

4.    Expect peers to comment on your ideas, pointing out alternatives, biases, missing data or evidence.

5.    Consider errors as opportunities to learn.


Critical thinking is a complex and evolving, lifelong process. It has multiple definitions, and all have some common elements. Nurses use high level critical thinking in clinical situations, and should continually develop the necessary skills and habits of the mind for critical thinking. Clinical judgments are outcomes of critical thinking.

University of Toledo College of Nursing

Theory and Collaborative Practice


Module 3
Teaching-Learning Theory

This module contains two presentations: teaching-learning and critical thinking.

Teaching is critical to nursing practice and mandated by our accreditors. It is difficult to think of an instance in nursing when we are not called upon to teach the patient, family, etc. In community health nursing practice, for example, it is often the primary intervention used at the level of individuals, families, and communities.

Learning Activities

1.    Read Leddy and Pepper

2.    Review the two online presentations: Teaching-Learning and Critical Thinking.


Teaching is a specialized form of communication in that it seeks to produce change in a learner.

Learning is more than acquiring new information. Learning is the process of change in the learner.

Teaching-learning is an interactive process. There is a communicator and a message that is received by a learner, and then a measurable outcome expressed as change in the learner’s behavior. A mechanism for feedback assists in the process.

Domains of Learning

Learning occurs in three domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.

Most people recognize the cognitive domain. This domain involves thinking processes. The changes in learners involve recall, comprehension, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

The affective domain includes attitudes, values, and feelings. Nurses learn to treat all patients with respect. Nurses, for example, may want to teach patients to value exercise to improve their health. However, values and attitudes are perhaps the slowest to change. In this domain, changes in learners are indicated by acceptance, commitment, willingness, statements of intention, setting priorities and making decisions about actions that indicate a value or attitude.  Teaching Learning Theory Essay

The psychomotor domain is easily distinguished by the performance of skills that require neuromuscular coordination. Performing technical skills for nursing practice, playing a musical instrument, or a patient’s ability to perform a self-injection of insulin are examples of changes in learners relevant to this domain.

A more detailed description of the three domains of learning (also referred to as Bloom’s Taxonomy) is provided at the following website:


Instructions on How To Write Behavioral Learning Objectives can be found at:


Learning Theory

Several theories have been developed to explain how learning occurs; you may have come across some of these in prior courses.

Each of these theories has particular utility for particular types of learners or because of the nature of what is to be learned.

We will briefly review Behavioral, Social Learning, Cognitive, Humanistic, Developmental, Critical and Adult Learning theories

Behavioral Learning Theory

Behavioral learning theory focuses on conditioning or stimulus-response in order to change behavior.

When learners demonstrate the desired behavior, they are positively reinforced with a pleasing reward, praise, incentives, etc. Providing free soft drinks to designated drivers is an example of using positive reinforcement.

Behavior modification programs use this theory. The positive reinforcement is withdrawn when the desired behavior does not occur or a negative behavior occurs.

Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory, developed by Bandura, proposes that learning takes place through observation and imitation. Bandura demonstrated the effects of social learning in preschool children watching TV. Children mimic family behavior.

In applying social learning theory, nurses can employ the technique of role modeling which is especially useful when demonstrating a psychomotor skill to a patient or a nursing student.

The coaching function reinforces the learner as they practice the skill.

Cognitive Learning Theory

Cognitive learning theory involves intellectual/thought processes.

The changes in learners are expected to derive from the changes in the way the learner processes information.

The learner’s processing of information, understanding of rationale, and recognizing the outcomes is expected to produce a given behavior. An example would be a nurse explaining the role of cholesterol in cardiovascular disease to a patient, and providing information about how often and where to get tested in order to influence the patient to get recommended testing.

Humanistic Learning Theory

Humanists believe that learning is a natural tendency for all persons.

Maslow purported that learning is part of the hierarchy of needs but can only be achieved if the environment is conducive to learning and basic needs are met first. Thus, for example, a classroom should be a comfortable temperature, and learners should not feel hungry, thirsty, or sleepy.

Carl Rogers, another humanistic learning theories, proposed learner-centered education. Here, the learner gains insight as they move through the process of solving a problem.

In humanistic learning theory, the learner can best determine his/her own learning needs and is self-directed in solving problems. The teacher acts as a facilitator, offering resources and feedback, and supporting the learner.

Developmental Theory

Developmental stages necessarily affect learning. For example, the way in which a toddler or preschooler learns is quite different than the way learning occurs in a teenager.

Readiness to learn is a critical concept in this theory. However, learning readiness also appears in other theories and is an expression of the teachable moment. It depends on the individual’s developmental stage as well as physical comfort. For example, think about some continuing education programs you have attended where perhaps it was hard to concentrate when you were hungry or sleepy, too cold or too hot. Emotions such as worry over a sick family member can also interfere with learning.

Critical Learning Theory

Critical learning theory proposes that learning is derived from learner insight that is facilitated by an ongoing dialogue between the teacher and the learner.

The teacher questions or assesses the learner to determine what is already known.

Similar to humanistic theory, this approach is learner-centered, focused on what the learner wants and needs to know.

Adult Learning Theory

Malcolm Knowles proposed a theory of learning which is based on European models. This theory focuses on adult learners and has four basic assumptions:

1.    Adults are self-directed, responsible for their own learning.

2.    Adults have a self-concept or identity formed through life experiences; therefore, the adult learner seeks to satisfy his own quest for knowledge

3.    Life events/experiences from social or occupational roles often define an individual’s learning needs and create the “readiness to learn.” Examples include parenting and career opportunities

4.    Lastly, adults are internally motivated to learn, prefer application of knowledge to real life situations, and enjoy active engagement.



It is important to understand various learning theories and domains so nurses can plan optimal client learning activities.

Teaching Learning Theory Essay







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