Author / Presenters : Alys Einion
Session : Presentation

This paper describes an evaluation of an Enquiry-Based learning approach to enhancing holistic understanding of individualised needs within the maternity care setting. Enquiry-based learning (often associated with problem based learning) fosters independent and interrogative thinking which enhances the ability to engage deeply with complex issues in higher education (Deignan, 2009; Mantzoukas, 2007; HEA, 2007). The use of narratives has been shown to enhance humanism in medical education (Kumagai, 2008) and narrative research supports detailed understanding of lived experience (Josselson, 2006). Dynamic narratives where used as the core learning component of an entire module based on understanding multiple dimensions of motherhood and the childbearing experience. Enquiry-based learning activities were based on the narratives, to which new instalments were added as the module progressed.

The module and activities were evaluated using the standard university module evaluation forms, supported by group discussions of the materials and the progression of activities at three points throughout the module.
Students described themselves as more ready and able to address their own feelings and reactions, and challenge their own preconceptions, when working with narratives Students felt that they had experience an ‘explosion’ of knowledge and understanding of these different issues through repeated processes of sensemaking and were much more prepared to provide truly woman-centred care. In the last session of the module, the learners took charge of the narratives and wrote the final instalments themselves.
Using dynamic narratives is an effective way to facilitate enquiry-based learning of multiple complex psychosocial dimensions of pregnancy and parenting. Engaging learners imaginatively in enquiry-based learning seems more effective and results in a co-constructed, egalitarian learning experience in which power barriers between facilitator and learner are removed, fostering autonomy and confidence in the enquiry-based learning process, and resulting in an expressed ability to provide holistic and woman-centred maternity care.