Learning Activity: Consciousness Raising on Experiential Learning

What are the Teaching Learning Implications for the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition? Learning Activity for Teachers and Nursing Students:  Consciousness Raising on Experiential Learning

By Patricia Benner copyright 2015

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  1. Describe a situation where you gained new understanding or perspectives on caring for a particular patient?
  2. What turned your thinking around in the situation?
  3. Can you identify expectations that you had for the situation that had to be changed?
  4. What do you do the deliberately improve your practice from one clinical experience to the next?


  • Learning Experience for Teachers and Nursing Students:  Can you describe situations of expertise or mastery in your own or other’s practice?  Think about innovation, and improvisation as hallmarks of Mastery level of Skill Acquisition. Can you give examples from clinician’s practice that you would consider innovative, or an “inspired” innovation?
  • Learning activity for Teachers and Nursing Students:  Changes in Skilled Practice Know-How for freshman and senior students.

Observe the two Improvisational Actor Simulations of Freshman and Senior Students under the Novice to Mastery Module on EducatingNurses.com

Pre-Briefing & Live Actor Simulation with First-Year Students

Live Actor Simulation & Student Debrief with Senior Students


The beginning and more advanced students are equally motivated to do a good home visit. In each case, the goals for the meeting are changed by the patient’s concerns and agendas.

  • What differences do you notice in the two levels of students’ ways of handling the changes in their plan based upon the patient’s concerns and situation?
  • How would you characterize, describe the practice and skills of the beginning and more advanced student?
  • What kinds of situated coaching might you provide for the beginners and for the seniors?
  • Can you describe ways that each group of students deals with the patient’s anxiety?
  • Other observations?


The following film provides a wonderfully visual background to the way human beings (and expert clinicians) think, and the philosophical background to the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition. Use this film in short selections or the whole movie for your teacher-learning-community to discuss the teaching and learning implications of this film.

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