NURS FPX 6105 Assessment 1 Learning Theories and Diversity

NURS FPX 6105 Assessment 1 Learning Theories and Diversity

Educational Theories and Learner Diversity

The development of courses and their content is fundamentally based on learning theories, which guide how material is tailored for particular student demographics. For clinical nurse educators, this demographic typically includes adult learners who have earned degrees or nursing credentials from accredited institutions and are either transitioning into clinical roles or seasoned nurses seeking to update their skills in certain areas of nursing practice. Therefore, when creating courses for these learners, educators must choose a relevant learning theory to shape the course design. In this case, the educator opts for adult learning theory to teach newly hired nurses at a clinical facility about maintaining a work-life balance. This discussion explores the course setting, the educational theory employed and its rationale, the variety of learners the educator will engage with, and approaches to handling conflict within the learning environment.

NURS FPX 6105 Assessment 1 Learning Theories and Diversity

Course Structure and Learning Environment

In the role of a clinical nurse educator, a key responsibility includes delivering staff development education aimed at motivating nurses within clinical environments, offering guidance and mentorship, and instructing them on how to achieve their professional aspirations. A fundamental requirement for nurses making the transition from academic settings to clinical practice is learning how to maintain a healthy work-life balance. According to Matsuo et al. (2021), achieving a solid work-life balance is crucial for the effective recruitment and retention of a robust nursing workforce. The absence of this balance often leads to a heightened desire among nurses to exit their clinical roles, presenting a significant challenge for healthcare organizations as high nurse turnover adversely impacts their ability to provide patient care (Matsuo et al., 2021). Therefore, it is essential for incoming nurses to receive guidance and mentorship on strategies that support work-life balance, ensuring they do not become so overwhelmed that they consider leaving their positions.

To address this, the subject of work-life balance will be introduced during the orientation sessions for nurses newly hired at the clinic. The course aims to (a) assist these new nurses in adjusting to their clinical roles, (b) bolster retention rates by nurturing their work-life balance, and (c) foster a nurturing environment for these newcomers. The instruction on work-life balance will be incorporated into the coaching and orientation framework through structured training programs and practical learning experiences. The intended recipients of these lessons are the newly recruited nurses assigned to various departments such as the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), High-Dependency Unit (HDU), Emergency Department (ED), and general wards.

Theory of Education

The course development is grounded in adult learning theory, which encompasses five principal orientations: cognitivist, behaviorist, humanistic, social cognitive, and constructivist, as identified by Allen et al. (2021). The cognitivist approach facilitates the structured delivery of content in classroom environments, focusing on enhancing students’ ability to learn more effectively. The behaviorist approach, conversely, aims at modifying behavior through coaching and targeted practice in skill development settings. The humanistic approach focuses on addressing emotional and developmental needs, encouraging learners towards self-actualization and self-awareness. Social cognitive theory emphasizes learning through role models, interactions, and observations, while the constructivist approach involves learning through engaging in real-world tasks and reflective practice (Allen et al., 2021). These orientations each serve a unique function in educating adult learners in clinical environments across various domains.

For the topic of work-life balance, the social-cognitive orientation is deemed most suitable. This orientation, as outlined by Allen et al. (2021), suggests that learning is most effective within a social context, through interaction with others. It underscores the importance of learning new behaviors and roles by engaging with more experienced peers, benefiting from their insights through both structured and informal settings. This learning mechanism relies heavily on the learner’s engagement with a realistic setting, emphasizing experiential learning as a core component. The methodology aligns with David Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, highlighting the significance of practical experience in the learning journey.

Justification of Theory

The application of adult learning theory to teaching work-life balance in a clinical setting will be integrated into the coaching and orientation program for newly hired nurses. This approach positions the clinical nurse educator as both an instructor and a mentor for the new medical professionals. As highlighted by Allen et al. (2021), conveying information through coaching and mentorship aligns with the social-cognitive framework of adult learning theory. Within this framework, a role model might be a formal mentor, a supervisor, or a seasoned team member within the learner’s organizational context. Such individuals provide support to the learner by creating a network conducive to learning and professional growth (Allen et al., 2021). This model is particularly effective for teaching the concept of work-life balance, with the clinical nurse educator serving as the mentor and experienced nurses across various departments acting as the supportive network necessary for the newcomers to learn and develop.

NURS FPX 6105 Assessment 1 Learning Theories and Diversity

Existing evidence points to the successful application of the adult learning theory in training adult learners in clinical settings. Curran (2014) reviewed existing literature on learner-centered teaching styles and found out that the application of adult learning theory promotes the engagement of learners, their learning outcomes, and the transferability of the lessons to diverse practice settings. Allen et al. (2021), from their review of leader development programs, argued that the professional training curricula adopted in medical education – as well as in the military – successfully apply the elements of the adult learning theory to impart knowledge and skills to the students. The evidence from their research supports the use of specific orientations of the theory in educating learners on specific topics. Mukhalalati and Taylor (2019) further provided support for the adoption of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle in providing health education.

Diversity of Learners

The major diversity issue in the clinical practice setting is the differences in age among the new nurses targeted by the intervention. A recent trend observed at the facility is that many of the newly recruited nurses from Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs are also advanced in age. Smiley et al. (2021), reporting on a nursing workforce survey, presented the findings that the median age of Registered Nurses (RNs) is 52 years. The report also projected that the aging of the nursing workforce will be a continual trend beyond the year 2020 (Smiley et al., 2021). The implication is that the majority of established practicing RNs are older than 50 years, and even though new hires are entering the profession, their age does not greatly reduce the median value. At the facility, the nurses joining the workforce are generally of a wide age range, including individuals between 22 and 46 years old. 

The age of the learners is an important diversity factor because the cognitive abilities of individuals usually decline with age. According to Clark et al. (2015), older adults have slower reaction times and lower accuracy when performing new skills, which can play a role in the acquisition of activity-oriented skills. Janacsek et al. (2012), on the other hand, found that the implicit learning abilities, which are responsible for the acquisition of motor, cognitive, and social skills, are more pronounced in younger individuals, with the ability to acquire the implicit skills peaking during adolescence and declining as the years progress. Consequently, age becomes an important factor when teaching work-life balance, which is a social skill. It is also worth noting that the older students have more experience in striking a balance between various demands of life and could benefit more from experiential training than their younger colleagues. Therefore, the delivery of the lesson has to be age-appropriate, with the clinical nurse educator identifying individuals’ personal learning abilities before delivering the lessons.

Strategies for Conflict Management

Conflicts in the educational setting, involving disagreements among students or between students and the nurse educator, are a common occurrence. Valente and Lourenço (2020) suggest that such conflicts often stem from cultural differences within the student body, or from other factors like individual personality traits, value systems, interests, and specific learning requirements. Additionally, conflicts may emerge when certain students perceive themselves as marginalized in the content delivery process due to various factors such as cultural background, age, or language barriers (Valente & Lourenço, 2020). Therefore, employing effective conflict management strategies is essential to foster a positive and inclusive learning atmosphere in a diverse classroom.

Valente and Lourenço (2020) identified five conflict management strategies suitable for educational settings: (a) integrating, which involves addressing conflicts through direct collaboration and cooperation among all parties; (b) dominating, where the educator overrides students’ needs and expectations to achieve their objectives; (c) obliging, where the educator puts the students’ interests ahead of their own; (d) avoiding, where the educator sidesteps the conflict-causing situation or remains neutral; and (e) compromising, where the educator seeks to meet everyone’s needs halfway. Their research within classroom environments highlighted the importance of the educator’s emotional intelligence (EI) in choosing the most effective conflict management strategy for any given situation (Valente & Lourenço, 2020). Notably, they found a strong link between high EI and the preference for the integrating strategy, which aims to fulfill both the educator’s and the students’ needs effectively.

NURS FPX 6105 Assessment 1 Learning Theories and Diversity


To generate similar fictional references that echo the themes and topics of the provided citations, we’ll craft a mix of studies and reviews that focus on adult learning theories, age-related learning differences, nursing education, and work-life balance among nurses. These references will reflect contemporary research in education, psychology, and nursing disciplines:

1. Barrett, J. P., Thomson, H. D., & Liu, F. (2022). Enhancing Leadership Skills in Nursing: The Role of Adult Learning Principles. Nursing Education Perspectives, 43(2), 117-123.

2. Greenfield, B., Park, Y., Williams, A., & Carter, A. (2016). Cognitive Flexibility and Adaptability to Environmental Changes in Aging: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Aging Research, 11(4), 457-472.

3. Harper, E. J., & Martin, A. (2018). Teaching Strategies of Award-Winning Nurse Educators: Qualitative Insights. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 8(9), 52-59.

4. O’Connell, T. S., & Dyment, J. E. (2013). The Timing of Learning: Age-Related Differences in Learning Across the Lifespan. Educational Gerontology, 39(11), 897-910.

5. Nakamura, Y., Ito, M., Maruyama, S., Kawahara, K., & Seki, M. (2020). Exploring the Impact of Work-Life Balance Initiatives on Nurse Retention and Satisfaction. Journal of Nursing Management, 28(6), 1345-1352.

6. Brighton, L. K., & Clarke, V. A. (2021). Practical Applications of Adult Learning Theory in Medical Education: A Literature Review. Advances in Medical Education and Practice, 12, 237-245.

7. Turner, R. E., Lacey, K. A., & Williams, H. T. (2023). National Survey on Nurse Engagement and Work-Life Balance: Trends and Implications. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 15, 89-104.

These references, while fictional, are designed to closely parallel the original citations in subject matter, offering a range of insights into adult learning theories, the dynamics of teaching in nursing education, the psychological aspects of learning at different ages, and the critical issue of work-life balance in the nursing profession.


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