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Educational Philosophy

Centre for learning and Teaching

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The mission of IHM is to foster diverse learning communities that prepare students for life-enhancing careers in an everchanging world which encompass nursing, medical, wellness, global health, social work, management and research. IHM is therefore committed to providing exemplary courses at graduate, and post graduate level for variety of health and management related service professionals.

IHM recognises the many career opportunities related to the health and management professions and provides rewarding learning experiences that will motivate students to strive for individual advancement and excellence. IHM values quality student-centred learning and teaching approaches which adhere to specific educational philosophies, outlined below, depending on the context of the course’s design. Comprehensive learning and teaching methodologies are embedded in all of IHM’s course design.

Constructivist Approach

Constructivist approach to learning is one in which learning is an active contextualised process of knowledge acquisition. The learner is the creator of her/his own repository of knowledge. Complementing a constructivist approach to learning is the application of adult learning and teaching principles to the learning and teaching contexts. The learning and teaching context is structured to build on existing knowledge and skills in different areas. These are critical thinking, clinical reasoning, evidence-based practice, knowledge development, ethical and legal parameters of professional practice, cultural awareness and empathy, with particular emphasis and explicit focus on Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander health and community care. Central to the conceptual framework underpinning the courses are the contextualisation of teaching and student learning within the Australian health care system and the Australian National Health priorities framework. Throughout the course of study students will be exposed to a variety of teaching modalities including face-to-face teaching, on-line(digital) learning and health informatics, and integration of theory with practice. Self-evaluation through critical reflection on personal learning and clinical practice as well as reflection on practice with respect to required standards is integral to the learning process. Students therefore get to reflect both on their own practice and its relationship to required and accepted standards of the profession. Variety of assessment modes are included in the courses to accommodate the diverse learning and evaluation styles and preferences of students. Additionally, the teaching and learning processes are designed to promote personal and professional growth so as to develop future health and management service professionals who not only provide person-centred services, but are scholars of and researchers in their own practice areas, and are capable of working effectively and collaboratively with a multidisciplinary teams of health care professionals (McLeod, 2019).

Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

WIL has no precise definition, but is an umbrella term for pedagogical methods and strategies to integrate theoretical knowledge in the workplace based on a specially designed curriculum (Berndtsson, Dahlborg, & Pennbrant, 2019). WIL refers to courses in IHM that include a work placement or professional practice experience but is also integrated with classroom learning. At IHM, WIL provides students with the opportunity to learn and practise in different workplace settings as well as being exposed to a variety of real-life situations where students will have the opportunity to integrate their practical professional skills with theoretical knowledge. WIL also promotes the exchange of knowledge with knowledge development in the workplace (McNamara, 2013).

The WIL approach provides IHM students with the venues and settings to apply the knowledge and skills learned in their designated course and prepares them for their professional life. Formal assessment tools will be used to assess students’ clinical performance. Feedback as required will be given to students to improve their work-related skills through the formative assessments.

Additional Information on WIL from TEQSA. (2017). Guidance note: work integrated learning


“In the context of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (HES Framework), work-integrated learning (WIL) encompasses any arrangement where students undertake learning in a workplace outside of their higher education provider (or one operated jointly with an external partner) as a part of their course of study. Such arrangements may include: • clinical or other professional placements • online projects • internships, or • workplace projects. The nature and scope of WIL may vary considerably, as will the extent of ‘integration’ of the workplace learning with the activities of the workplace or with the remainder of the student’s course work. For example, a WIL experience might involve conduct of a project that is very much part of the core business of the workplace, and colleagues in the workplace may have an active teaching or mentoring role in achieving specified learning outcomes that have been jointly developed with the provider. Alternatively, a workplace experience may be less integrated with the business of the workplace e.g. an early placement that is mostly about observation of and orientation to work practices. While less integrated, this type of WIL may nonetheless provide an important practical foundation that will be built on in the remainder of the course of study”.

(Note: Other types of work experience may not involve a placement with an outside organisation (for example, simulated or online experiences), but these lie outside the scope of the Section of the HES Framework that specifically deals with WIL (5.4) and outside the scope of this guidance note. All references to WIL in this Guidance Note refer to WIL placements that would be covered by Section 5.4.).

Inquiry-based Learning (IBL)

IBL is a student-centred learning approach where students are encouraged to be active learners monitored and supervised by their teachers. Teaching and Learning based on IBL helps students to expand their knowledge and understanding through research and exploration activities (such as case studies, simulation activities, project or research) based on existing knowledge. The inquiry approach requires higher-order thinking skills and critical thinking to draw conclusions (Ganesan et al., 2020).

In IBL, students gain knowledge and skills through: (Wale & Bishan, 2020)

  • observations
  • posing questions
  • examining sources
  • gathering
  • analysing
  • interpreting and synthesising data
  • proposing answers
  • explanation and predictions
  • communicating findings through discussion and reflections
  • applying findings to the real situation; and
  • following up new questions that may arise in the process.

IBL focuses on the student’s ability to critically view, question, and diligently explore various perspectives and concepts of the real world. It takes place when the teacher facilitates and scaffolds learning that gives facts and knowledge. This directs students to engage in investigating, questioning, and explaining their world in a structured student–centred learning environment.

Learning through Reflection

Learning by reflecting is based on students and their learning experiences and integrating theory with practice. Students will be introduced to different models of reflection including critical reflection, reflective writing, clinical reasoning and reflecting on a clinical situation (Esterhuizen, 2019). Reflection is a tool that enables students to process their thoughts, feelings and emotions of an event which required knowledge, skills and the level of decision making expected of service professionals. By reflecting, students will conduct a cognitive process of their thoughts and feelings of an experience or challenge so as to embark on a journey of self-examination and self-evaluation. This will help them developing strategies that will prepare them to be better equipped to deal with similar future events. Reflection allows students to evaluate the situation by identifying the theory-gap; exposing their emotional reaction, examining their thoughts and feelings internally as well as critically analysing their behaviour. This process guides students to develop a plan of action that will lead to a more positive outcome in the event of future similar situations. Through reflection, students develop awareness about themselves, level of knowledge, and professional skills. This enables them to communicate more effectively with patients and colleagues. Students practice of reflection places them in an advantageous position to provide excellent patient care and other services which ultimately lead to improvements in the quality of their professional services. With reflective learning practices students will acquire self‐directed learning skills and go on to develop professional maturity.

Learning and Teaching Methodologies

Teaching and learning methodologies will take account of the philosophical values, cultural diversities and learning style preferences of the students. During the on campus or online delivery of courses, steps will be taken to motivate students to participate actively in lectures, tutorials, seminars, and clinical simulation activities prior to their professional practice experience placements. When utilising eLearning technologies in online course delivery, conscious effort will be made to incorporate variety of teaching learning methods. Students will be encouraged to engage with their educators irrespective course delivery modality. Furthermore, independent learning, and forum discussions will be incoporated.

Students’ prior knowledge and background:

IHM acknowledhes that students entering any of the courses at IHM, bring with them considerable experiences. The teaching and learning approach adopted in all IHM courses incorporate recognition to student’s prior learning experiences and integrate principles of adult learning.

Acknowledgement of Learning Style Variations:

The variety of teaching and learning methodologies employed in all IHM courses complement and supplement the different learning styles exhibited by the students as well as attune to the demands of content of the relevant course. These methodologies include: context based or problem-based learning, rationalist pedagogy and reflective learning.

Teaching strategies will include use of a wide variety of sources and materials including library books, learning guides and presentations. Digital technology and media are appropriately incorporated to augment learning. Use of multimedia including audio-visual, interactive CD-ROM based materials accompanying texts, websites and online discussion group forums are examples of the same.

Research and inquiry:

Depending on the relevant courses or units (e.g. research unit, Evidence-Based Practice, etc), a high level of support, encouragement and direction will be provided. This particularly applies during the early part of the relevant courses.


From the beginning of the course, students will be helped and encouraged to develop study, research and inquiry skills, which will then be utilised and assessed. The required readings will be selected to provide students with grounding in the themes and concerns central to each topic. This will provide a context for understanding and expansion when examining other literature, practices and other course materials such as interactive media.

Communication and cooperation:

Students will be encouraged to discuss course content and literature with one another and with academics. The primary means of discussion will be through online (off shore) and on campus face to face discussion forums in which the contract academic will guide discussion. Students will also get to communicate through email, instant messaging and other media. Discussion is a vitally important part of the learning process as it allows learning to be social as well as individual and provides a model for future essential collegial dialogue in the nursing profession. Interactivity: The policy document titled eLearning Policy and Procedure for On Campus Students sets out principles and procedures to ensure that eLearning is used to enhance learning for on campus students.

Support from academic staff:

Student learning is facilitated by experienced and qualified academics from a diversity of academic and practice backgrounds with appropriate authority delegated by the Institute. Students will also have access to additional help through IHM’s student support services, including both academic and personal support.

(*Learning and Teaching Methodologies – extracted from the TEQSA’s accredited post graduate nursing courses of IHM - Graduate Certificate/Diploma in Nursing. There have been some revisions and editions to make them adaptable for any of the course design at IHM)

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