Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) to support teaching practice: Insights from a nurse tutor program in Nigeria
To determine the feasibility of using the Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) platform, WhatsApp, to provide supervision and support for student nurse tutors during a teaching practice placement in Nigeria.
A descriptive qualitative method was used to design and evaluate a six-week WhatsApp group discussion intervention among 19 student nurse tutors. Two pre-intervention focus group sessions (n=9 and n=10) and a workshop were conducted to assess the students’ content needs and media usage, and to develop a short online supervisory curriculum. To evaluate the intervention, two focus group sessions (n=9 and n=9) were carried out, transcribed verbatim, and analysed together with the actual WhatsApp conversations using thematic content analysis.
The participants found the WhatsApp-enabled learning space valuable, in particular for the transfer and application of knowledge in their day-to-day teaching practice and, more generally, for their professional development. There were rich and multifaceted indicators of learning and professional development in evidence which were mostly triggered by specific facilitation techniques. The four themes from the WhatsApp conversations are: (1) sharing and discussing “tricks of the trade”; (2) providing direction and triggering reflective (teaching) practice; (3) sparking professional discussions and announcing professional development opportunities; and (4) maintaining a continuous moderating and teaching “presence”.
Despite some technical challenges centred mainly on the accessibility of the MIM space, the study identified indicators of good supervision practice and the results point to the feasibility and value of MIM to enhance supervision during teaching practice.