An Evaluation of Blogging as an Educational Tool for Interprofessional Education as Part of University Experiential Learning
Since the inception of the Internet, much of our society’s communication has become paperless and instantaneous. The speed at which information can be disseminated has not only changed the way in which we communicate with each other but it has also increased the collaboration between professions, particularly the health sciences. As society shifts to a more virtual environment, it is imperative to assess these online tools to determine whether they elevate our research, educational methods and/or work environment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether blogging can be used as an educational tool for interprofessional education in a university setting around experiential learning. In this study, the experiential learning activity was a seven day Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Challenge where participants were challenged to live off of $4.20 per day for seven days. Participation was available to all students and faculty at Winthrop University and was completely voluntary. The blog was one component of the challenge that aimed to create an informal, conversational forum for the participants of the SNAP Challenge to interact and potentially engage in Interprofessional Education (IPE) without any formal intervention. Results of this study showed that the blog was a valuable tool for promoting reflection amongst participants as well as interaction between participants. There was little evidence to support the blog contributing to interprofessional education due to a lack of participation by a variety of majors in the current study and should be evaluated in future research efforts. Due to the dearth research regarding the use of blogging as an educational tool, studies should examine blogging as a viable online teaching tool in higher education.