Informal faculty development in health professions education: Identifying opportunities in everyday practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Faculty development (FD) supports health professions educators to develop knowledge, skills, and expertise. Whilst formal FD is a focus in the health professions education (HPE) literature, little is known about how FD occurs informally. We sought to identify opportunities and constraints for informal FD amongst health professions educators in the academic (university) setting and understand how they engage with these opportunities. Methods: This exploratory study was conducted in one Australian university. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with undergraduate and postgraduate teachers and assessors (teachers) (n = 10); teaching team and program leaders (mid-level leaders) (n = 8); and senior (university-level) leaders (n = 2). We analysed data thematically and applied situated cognition theory. Results: We identified three everyday educational practices that provide opportunities for informal FD in the academic setting: (1) applying evidence to; (2) evaluating; and (3) sharing, educational practice. Engaging with these opportunities was shaped by individuals’ motivation and proactivity to engage in professional learning (effectivities) and organisational culture and structures (constraints). Conclusion: Applying evidence to, evaluating, and sharing educational practice provide valuable contexts for ongoing learning in the academic setting. Assisting educators and organisations to recognise and leverage these ‘in situ’ FD opportunities is vital in fostering a continuous learning culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)874-878
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Teacher
Volume43
Issue number8
Early online dateJun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • affordances
  • constraints
  • educational practices
  • informal faculty development
  • Staff development

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