Meet Daniel Clegg, a tutor for our online Medical Education programmes.
What was your background prior to becoming a tutor?
Prior to becoming a tutor I was an undergraduate chiropractic student, and followed this up with a research degree programme in the field of rheumatolgy. I developed my teaching skills and understanding of adult-learning, and worked my way to becoming a lecturer. Around this time, I was able to adapt and develop my skills to online learning, and becoming a tutor with Learna is how I achieved this.
How has the course helped you/your students?
I have learned so much about how adult professionals learn. Most of all I have gained a tremendous appreciation of the value of each student within the cohort, and the multidisciplinary interaction is such an amazing way to learn. It has helped me to recognise when students need more support, when they need to utilise their strengths, and via the reflective journals I have gained a lifelong appreciation for how we fit learning into our professional working lives, and around our family and social responsibilities. I have been privileged to work with some of the most amazing people, and feel I am able to get a picture of students in my mind, without necessarily seeing them or meeting them.
I think my approach of putting the online learning experience at the forefront of all learning, and adopting a very open and immersive way of learning, has developed to a point where students really enjoy my approach. It has come through testing ideas, and having incredibly receptive students who I ensure never feel afraid to offer me feedback to improve my tutoring performance. I also found that my work in EDI and in particular increasing and improving accessibility for learners in higher education, has enabled me to provide support on both academic and pastoral issues, for students who may need that extra support.
I like to think being open and honest in areas where I am also learning and developing from student interactions, enables students to see that the person on the other end of the screen is a real human, and appreciates how this style of learning can be enhanced.
How can students apply the knowledge gained from the Medical Education course to their daily practice?
One thing I really push with, on all courses, is how the learning is impacting on practice. This concept is sometimes difficult for some students to fully embrace, as it is a different way of learning to what they may have experienced previously. I love this about Learna programmes, and my default feedback is always to encourage students to think about how anything they do in practice currently, has been impacted by what they have learned on the course. I also encourage students to consider events or times from their professional practice history, when they may have approached something differently, based on the learning experiences they are gaining on the course. I finally supplement this by encouraging students to consider how any learning has changed the way they look at things, in terms of how they will approach their practice in future. The idea of using reflective practice to plan for the future, relies heavily on the learning, and this is why there is so much success in the peer to peer interactive discussions. The understanding and appreciation for students from such different perspectives, is ultimately what these courses aimed to achieve, and in that regard most of all, the courses are enhancing practice globally.
Do you recommend any website or research tools for students?
Other than the sites recommended by Learna in the pre-course learning documentation, I always guide students towards content or concepts within the USW FindIt library. This provides them with a grounded tool to use for any part of their course. When it comes to bespoke areas that maybe aren’t as clear, and maybe need to be “unwound” to allow the concepts to be fully appreciated, then yes I will sometimes guide the students to external resources. Research tools in particular, I do try to guide students a little more, as there are so many out there! By guiding to those which are considered the gold standard in this area, the hope is that students are able to firmly grasp the concepts, and understand the purpose. Then comes the most important tool available for students, and that is context. I reward students who hypothesise or ask questions to their peers, and any subsequent interactions. This is promoted by asking those who have an experience in the area to demonstrate their “strength”, and those who engage with the discussion to consider where their strengths lie in that particular discussion, or how they can still engage in areas they might not consider one of their strengths. In this regard I sometimes need to direct students to areas such as good reflective writing practice, understanding strengths and contributions in group learning, and even concepts and principles of group work in general. I also recommend the use of digital media, such as Youtube, as there are many concepts which are explained far more clearly than I ever could, particularly for those who are very much “visual learners".
What makes studying a Medical Education course at Learna | Diploma MSc different?
Unlike other institutes, the core of Learna courses is the immersive and interdisciplinary learning. This is and always has been at the very centre of all thier online courses. I have been fortunate enough to co-write the Rheumatology and Dermatology programmes, and I designed and wrote the Pain Management programme. These experiences not only benefited me, but they allowed me to see how a course is taken from idea inception, to the presented course seen by students and tutors. The level of detail and quality that goes into designing these courses is phenomenal. Students who study our courses leave not only with an academic qualification, but also a sense of personal and professional development – hence why so many continue to MSc, and why so many of our students go onto even further PhD and research publications within their fields. Many of our students build trusted professional relationships with their peers, and their tutor, and that collaboration leads to published work, which in turn enhances the career and reputation of the tutor. I have published alongside several of my graduates, and it is an honour to be sharing authorship with leaders from within fields I once considered outside of my scope of practice!
What is your favourite topic within your field of work?
Pain Management will always remain my favourite programme, for many sentimental reasons. However, having worked with Medical Education for a number of years now, and also having developed my career to become a senior lecturer, and more recently the digital leader for health and social care courses at London South Bank University, I have grown incredibly fond of Medical Education. I have only been successful in my career to the heights that I have to date, due to being given the opportunity to develop my own teaching and learning paradigm on these courses, and I have taken the best from the courses and experiences gained, and utilised them in my whole teaching practice. I have also taken the best experiences and learning approaches I have gained skills in, and applied them to Learna courses. So within my overall field of work, which is primarily digital learning and increasing accessibility in healthcare, my favourite topic overall is probably “supporting and developing students with additional accessibility needs, by introducing digital and simulated experiential learning models of practice”.
What advice would you give to someone considering undergoing a Medical Education course?
There is no better advice to give, other than to say that we as professionals will be learning every day of our lives. Not all learning is academic, and much of what we learn professionally will be experiential. What we need to develop is the skill of knowing how to recognise our strengths, understanding how to apply learning skills to our practice, and knowing how to better influence our practice through structured learning with a multidisciplinary team of professionals. You will gain transferable skills, you will be supported every step of the way, you will engage in discussions on topics that were probably quite terrifying to most of us as undergraduates, and you will leave with a tremendous sense of achievement, personal and professional development, and friends you will keep for life.
Final note, and probably most importantly – you will also leave with an appreciation of Liverpool football club, Marvel and DC Universe, and hopefully, inspiration for your own Medical Education course practice.