Background: Healthcare educators face numerous challenges including technological change, information overload, and the need to maintain clinical expertise and research knowledge across multiple specialities. Students also need to develop their capacity for critical thinking, using and discriminating between diverse sources of knowledge in order to advance their own practice. Objectives: To investigate student perceptions of the affordances of a novel web 2.0-based tool - the Web Resource Appraisal Process (WRAP), designed to support the development of critical thinking skills, and to identify how student's understanding of critical thinking and their use of web 2.0 resources might inform the cross-disciplinary development of the WRAP. Design: A two phase, action research study of student perceptions of the WRAP and their ability to source and identify valid information sources. Settings: Implemented at the University of South Australia, development of the WRAP is an international project with the University of Westminster, UK. Participants: Students from international locations participated in the project. Methods: A mixed methods approach was adopted involving a two phase action research study. In phase one, student perceptions of the WRAP were obtained using a modified course feedback questionnaire. This informed the development of a subsequent questionnaire used to survey student perceptions of their usage of online resources, the ease of access of such resources and their approaches to determining their validity. Results: Results suggest that students mainly use traditional resources when preparing work for assessment and they either do not understand the concept of, or do not exercise, critical thinking skills in such activities. However, the feedback from students using the WRAP, demonstrated that they found it instructive and useful. Conclusions: To ensure that practice developments are based on authoritative evidence, students need to develop critical thinking skills which may be facilitated by tools such as the WRAP.
- Critical thinking
- Higher education
- Web 2.0
- Web resource appraisal process