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Inform Health Soc Care. 2012 Sep;37(3):125-40. doi: 10.3109/17538157.2012.678449. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

Introducing and adapting a novel method for investigating learning experiences in clinical learning environments.

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Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The Contextual Activity Sampling System (CASS) is a novel methodology designed for collecting data of on-going learning experiences through frequent sampling by using mobile phones. This paper describes how it for the first time has been introduced to clinical learning environments. The purposes of this study were to cross-culturally adapt the CASS tool and questionnaire for use in clinical learning environments, investigate whether the methodology is suitable for collecting data and how it is experienced by students. A study was carried out with 51 students who reported about their activities and experiences five times a day during a 2-week course on an interprofessional training ward. Interviews were conducted after the course. The study showed that CASS provided a range of detailed and interesting qualitative and quantitative data, which we would not have been able to collect using traditional methods such as post-course questionnaires or interviews. Moreover, the participants reported that CASS worked well, was easy to use, helped them structure their days and reflect on their learning activities. This methodology proved to be a fruitful way of collecting information about experiences, which could be useful for not only researchers but also students, teachers and course designers.

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