Influencing Student Attitudes Through a Student-Directed Interprofessional Learning Activity: A pilot study


  • Gillian Nisbet The University of Sydney
  • Christopher J Gordon The University of Sydney
  • Christine Jorm The University of Sydney
  • Timothy Chen The University of Sydney



attitudes, healthcare, interprofessional learning, social media, student-directed


A student-directed approach to interprofessional learning (IPL) can overcome difficulties such as incompatible timetables, limited staff resources and crowded disciplinary curricula. However, it is unclear whether such approaches to IPL can produce quality student learning, including attitudinal change. This study aimed to investigate the influence of a student-directed experiential IPL activity on attitudes towards interprofessional learning and working. A single group, pre/post-test design was used. Participants from medicine, nursing, exercise physiology, diagnostic radiography, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physiotherapy, and speech pathology disciplines completed three validated questionnaires (Revised Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS); Modified Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS); and Interprofessional Relationships Scale (IRS)) before and after a five week student-directed interprofessional learning activity. Students were also surveyed on frequency of social media usage and mode of communication with team members during the IPL activity. Seventy-seven students participated in the IPL activity. There were significant increases in the modified IEPS and IRS scores before and after the IPL activity but not the RIPLS. Social media and face-to-face meetings were used equally by students to communicate with team members during the IPL activity. The overall results support the effectiveness of a student-directed experiential IPL activity to significantly influence attitudes towards interprofessional learning and working. This approach may offer a viable means of overcoming the curricular challenges faced when implementing IPL on a large scale. The role of social media in facilitating collaborative learning warrants further exploration.

Author Biography

Gillian Nisbet, The University of Sydney

Gillian Nisbet researches and teaches in the areas of interprofessional learning and work integrated learning within healthcare. Her recent PhD was on informal workplace interprofessional learning. Gillian’s research funding includes a grant from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council for the project titled “Developing interprofessional learning and practice capabilities within the Australian health workforce – a proposal for building capacity within the higher education sector” and more recently, a University of Sydney Large Educational Innovations grant to upscale interprofessional learning across health disciplines within the University. Her research interests also include peer mentoring to support student supervisors.


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How to Cite

Nisbet, G., Gordon, C. J., Jorm, C., & Chen, T. (2016). Influencing Student Attitudes Through a Student-Directed Interprofessional Learning Activity: A pilot study. International Journal of Practice-Based Learning in Health and Social Care, 4(1), 1–15.

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