Creating a shared learning experience in CHBS

New module established to educate students on IPE and IDE  

College of Health and Behavioral Studies

by Morgan Vuknic

Screenshot of the new CHBS IPE and IDE Module

Interprofessional and interdisciplinary education have been highly valued by the College of Health and Behavioral Studies (CHBS) for years. Students in CHBS are exposed to interprofessional education (IPE) and interdisciplinary education (IDE) through activities and classes such as the poverty simulation, modified texture lab, building cultural humility workshop, health professions case study event and the interdisciplinary research project, along with others. 

“IPE and IDE are essential,” Dietetics graduate Cassandra Donohue (’19) said in a YouTube video for CHBS. “For example, I know my lane of dietetics very well but I don’t always think about it in terms of other capacities. All aspects of healthcare need to be in communication in order to provide the best well-rounded care for individuals.”  

In order for students to better understand the importance of IPE and IDE to their careers in health and human service fields, CHBS associate dean Linda Plitt Donaldson and members of the college’s IPE and IDE Council have been working on creating an asynchronous course module that professors can embed into their course materials to supplement other learning activities.

CHBS is moving toward recognizing student achievement in IPE and IDE at graduation, and completion of the module will be one of the requirements. It will also teach them foundational content important for building knowledge and skills for collaborative practice in a range of career settings.

“This training exists to give students, both undergraduate and graduate, introductory and foundational knowledge as they get into classes and experiences that prepare them for interdisciplinary and interprofessional practice,” Plitt Donaldson said.  

The module itself features videos from professors explaining the importance of IPE and IDE, knowledge checks and sections on topics such as the four main domains that research has shown to be important for successful collaborative practice: values and ethics, communication; understanding roles and responsibilities; and working on a team.  

Each section of the module includes flashcards with important definitions, videos breaking down the overarching topic of the section and scenarios with questions at the end so students can apply the skill they just learned about.  

For example, the “communication” section features videos on the ten sub-competencies of communication. Students can then practice applying these sub-competencies through scenarios where they are given two sides of a story and then have to describe their thoughts on the communication challenges and successes in the story. 

Some sections, like the “wicked problems: why IPE/IDE matters” section include short quizzes and matching portions so that students can make sure they’re understanding what they’re learning.  

In the wicked problems section, students learn about wicked problems such as homelessness and poverty. They then learn how these problems relate to healthcare through matching terms with definitions and percentages with healthcare categories.

The section also has two sorting portions where students sort scenarios based on if they are describing health equity or health equality. The other sorting segment has students sort the scenario into the correct part of the Health Equity Framework.

Donaldson said she believes this is an important way for all IPE and IDE students to be on the same page about what they’re learning. 

“This is an important way to facilitate person-centered collaborations,” Donaldson said. “We hope that through this module, students will develop skills for empowering families and professionals, including themselves and other students.”   

While the module is still in beta testing, Donaldson said it should be available to faculty and students by fall 2023. Currently, faculty and students are trying out the module so that necessary changes can be made to it before it goes public.   

The beta testing process involves participants fully completing the module which should take around 2-3 hours and can be done all at once or in multiple sittings. Two students involved in this process are junior Social Work major Georgia Smart and first-year Clinical and School Psychology doctoral student Alyssa Decker.  

Smart said that going through the module allowed her to build her knowledge on interdisciplinary topics. Smart is currently taking an IDE class, so she’s somewhat familiar with the subject area. She said she thinks the module will be especially valuable to those who are new to the concept of IPE and IDE. 

She also thinks that having all students involved in an IPE or IDE class going through the same module will improve the program since students will have a consistent knowledge going into their classes.  

“Having access to [the module] could be helpful for any profession, but especially in helping professions,” Smart said. “It will be useful for students in IPE and IDE classes to learn all the same skills and to have a new set of tools under their belt.”  

Decker’s experience differs from Smart because she was part of the team who helped create the module’s “team and teamwork” section, but she also participated in beta testing.  

Like Smart, Decker said this module will allow students to all have a common ground when it comes to IPE and IDE topics. Decker also said it will help professors as they will now have a basis to better facilitate discussions with students.  

“The value of the module is two-fold,” Decker said. “It allows students to engage in a different type of learning and it provides foundational tools for interdisciplinary and interprofessional work for professors so that they can disseminate information and converse with their students.”  

Both Smart and Decker agree that this module will help those involved in IPE and IDE courses since the topics are so broad and are not often talked about outside of those classes.   

“One of the big messages of IPE is that we’re learning along with everyone we’re interacting with,” Decker said. “[IPE and IDE] topics are so wide-ranging and they help us students go into our respective fields seeking connection with others. Through IPE and IDE, we can provide care, consultation, communication and compassion for our colleagues, patients and clients.”  

Back to Top

Published: Thursday, February 23, 2023

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

Related Articles