Redesigning A Core First Year Physiology Subject In Allied Health To Achieve Better Learning Outcomes


  • Joseph A. Rathner
  • Dianne L. Hughes
  • Johannes A. Schuijers


In an era of rationalization and emphasis on economies of scales (Hare, 2011; Johnson, 2009; Trounson & Ross, 2011), many allied health and nursing programmes are finding the need to develop Core Subjects that can cater to the needs of a diverse range of students. Historically, human bioscience (anatomy and physiology) has been a major stumbling block to student success in nursing education. Part of the problem is that teaching activities and content knowledge has traditionally been skewed to cater for the most advanced student, with less adequately prepared or academically skilled students left struggling to keep up. Here we describe a subject redesign that switches the emphasis on teaching and learning from the maximalist approach to one where the emphasis is on teaching and learning activities focused on the core concepts that students are obligated to know and where advanced concepts are learned via self-directed, self-motivated learning. This redesign utilises team based guided inquiry and collaborative testing to encourage time-on-task, active learning and constructive teamwork to promote good learning and study habits. The new subject design is intended to meet individual stake-holder needs for human bioscience, promote student success and meet the University’s “excellence in subject design principles.”






Published paper