Development and validation of an assessment tool for higher education learning abroad programs: A qualitative Delphi study

Bronwyn A. Kosman, Daniela Castro de Jong, Catherine R. Knight-Agarwal, Lucy S. Chipchase, Naroa Etxebarria

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Abstract

Background: Higher education learning abroad programs provide many benefits to healthcare students. However, inadequate preparation prior to their international travel, and misdirected motivations for their participation, can jeopardise the benefits and increase the risks. While it is pivotal to objectively evaluate pre-departure student preparation and the impact the programs have on students, existing assessment questionnaires fail to inform these aspects. Objectives: To develop an assessment tool (two surveys) to holistically evaluate learning abroad programs for higher education healthcare students. Design: A qualitative Delphi technique. Participants: A total of 24 experts who had designed, managed, participated in, hosted, funded, and/or researched Australian learning abroad programs for higher education students. Methods: The study was conducted over a 4-month period. An initial set of pre-departure and post-program questions was developed through a review of the existing literature and from a post-program survey previously used at an Australian higher education institution. Subsequently, experts provided constructive and practical feedback on the questions to be included in the two surveys. Results: The experts reached consensus on the 26 questions to be included in the pre-departure survey and the 16 questions in the post-program survey after three Delphi rounds. Key areas of interest to the experts were mitigating student risk, improving effectiveness of pre-departure briefings, gaining a better insight into student motivations for participation, and understanding the impact the programs have on students. Conclusions: The development of this valid assessment tool (two surveys) will provide higher education institutions and program leaders with the ability to better evaluate the effectiveness of the pre-departure preparation they provide to students, understand the motivations of students who participate, as well as assessing the impact these programs have on students. The insights gathered can be used to improve future program offerings and maximise the benefits to healthcare students while reducing the risks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106030
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Education Today
Volume132
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 2023

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