Rola Ajjawi

Rola Ajjawi
Deakin University · Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning

BAppSc(Physio) Hons, PhD

About

163
Publications
34,876
Reads
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3,795
Citations
Citations since 2017
95 Research Items
3347 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230200400600800
20172018201920202021202220230200400600800
20172018201920202021202220230200400600800
Additional affiliations
April 2011 - July 2015
University of Dundee
Position
  • Senior Lecturer in Medical Education
Description
  • Curriculum development and delivery, higher research degree supervision and research

Publications

Publications (163)
Chapter
Health professions education and healthcare are complex endeavours. This complexity appears resistant to the reductive approaches that seek to quantify and even qualify problems, let alone finding solutions that lead to categorical improvement. Sociomaterialism is a heterogenous body of work that encompasses multiple theories and positionalities. T...
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COVID-19 forced the digitalisation of teaching and learning in a response often described as emergency remote teaching (ERT). This rapid response changed the social, spatial, and temporal arrangements of higher education and required important adaptations from educators and students alike. However, while the literature has examined the constraints...
Article
Modes of feedback such as audio or video are thought to foster relationality because they humanise feedback encounters. Few studies have examined teacher feedback literacies for relationality. This knowledge gap is significant as students want to be seen by their teachers and for their teachers to express care within the feedback encounter. Teacher...
Chapter
(a) The aim of this chapter is to present a historical account of feedback conceptualizations and discuss current trends in feedback research and practice. (b) The main concepts show that many definitions of feedback exist which have influenced research and practice, shifting from feedback as information, to feedback as a process that foregrounds t...
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The practice of students as partners can be applied to numerous facets of the university, including curriculum design, governance, and co-curricular programs. However, while scholars have also conceptualised that student partnership can occur through co-research, adoption is far from mainstream. In this paper, we seek to go ‘under the hood’ of stud...
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Artificial intelligence (AI) holds significant implications for higher education; however, references to AI in the literature are often vague and open to debate. In order to understand how to progress AI-related research and analysis, this critical review systematically searched top higher education journals for references to the term ‘artificial i...
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Work-integrated learning (WIL) or university placements are valuable opportunities for students to apply their knowledge in an authentic work setting and help support their transition from university to employment. However, as our study evidenced, students with disability face significant and unique barriers to securing and completing WIL placement...
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Numbers of online postgraduate coursework students are increasing within higher education and this raises questions of identity – what being a student means to this more mature cohort. This in-depth qualitative investigation explores postgraduate student identities within online learning. We conducted interviews (14) and collected completed longitu...
Article
Introduction: Fostering trainee psychological safety is increasingly being recognised as necessary for effective feedback conversations. Emerging literature has explored psychological safety in peer learning, formal feedback and simulation debrief. Yet, the conditions required for psychologically safe feedback conversations in clinical contexts, a...
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Qualitative research is inherently relational, thus paying attention to subjectivities is important. As researchers, we are fundamentally entangled in the research through the decisions we make about design, the rapport and shaping of interviews to construct the data and the lenses we bring to interpretation and sense making. This is a multivoiced...
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Authentic assessment aligns higher education with the practices of students' future professions, which are increasingly digitally mediated. However, previous frameworks for authentic assessment appear not to explicitly address how authenticity intersects with a broader digital world. This critical scoping review describes how the digital has been d...
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Assessment has multiple purposes, one of which is to judge if students have met outcomes at the requisite level. Underperformance in assessment is frequently positioned as a problem of the student and attributed to student diversity and/or background characteristics. However, the assessment might also be inequitable and therefore exclude students i...
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Assessment plays an important role in higher education, both guiding student learning and judging student success. However, assessment that treats all students the same is inequitable, since it ignores differences in students’ past and present circumstances. A shift to assessment for inclusion is advocated to promote student equity; one that incorp...
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As a form of assessment, examinations are designed to determine whether students have met learning outcomes. However, students with disabilities report avoiding examinations, selecting units of study where the assessments align with their strengths. To ensure examinations do not contribute to the systematic exclusion of students with disabilities,...
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E-assessment typically seeks to improve assessment designs through the use of innovative digital tools. However, the intersections between digital technologies and assessment can be seen as increasingly complex, particularly as the sociotechnical perspectives suggest assessment must be relevant to a digitally-mediated society. This paper presents a...
Article
Student feedback practices have been primarily discussed within a context of the particular course or unit of study. Little attention has been paid to how students navigate their feedback practices as they progress through different learning contexts and whether they apply known feedback strategies in new settings. To open exploration of this issue...
Article
A taskforce established by Medical Education asks readers to engage in discussion about how the journal and field can do better to ensure that health professional education publishing is inclusive of diverse knowledge and perspectives.
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Assessment drives learning and determines success in higher education. In a robust and defensible system, assessment should not exclude based on extraneous student characteristics, particularly as the student body becomes more diverse. This research sought to examine classroom assessment designs that might make assessment inclusive. A critical lite...
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Introduction Like medicine and healthcare, feedback is a practice imbued with emotions: saturated with feelings relevant to one’s identity and status within a given context. Often this emotional dimension of feedback is cast as an impediment to be ignored or managed. Such a perspective can be detrimental to feedback practices as emotions are fundam...
Article
Aim This review aims to explore the relationship between feedback and evaluative judgement in undergraduate nursing and midwifery education. Background Research in higher education has shown that feedback practices can lead to students’ developing evaluative judgement; thought critical for performance improvement and life-long learning. While lite...
Article
Feedback is justified when it has a positive influence on students’ subsequent performance. Opportunities for student action need therefore to be consciously designed if feedback is to influence learning. In this paper, we discuss how ipsative design of feedback processes, i.e. involving comparison of a student’s current performance with a previous...
Article
Academic failure is commonplace in higher education. Some students persist and go on to complete their courses. However, some do not, and this can create problems for themselves and the institutions in which they are enrolled. If we could understand students’ lived experiences of academic failure and persistence, it may be possible to design strate...
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Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) have become ubiquitous as a form of assessment in medical education but involve substantial resource demands and considerable local variation. A detailed understanding of the processes by which OSCEs are designed and administered could improve feasibility and sustainability. This exploration of OSC...
Article
The increasing prominence of neoliberal agendas in international higher education has led to greater weight being ascribed to student satisfaction, and the national surveys through which students evaluate courses of study. In this article, we focus on the evaluation of feedback processes. Rather than the transmission of information from teacher to...
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Despite feedback being considered important to learning, its potential is rarely fully realised. Promoting learning through feedback in open-ended written tasks (e.g. essays and reports) is a complex endeavour that requires students who are motivated to identify and utilise appropriate information. We set out to understand the mechanisms that enabl...
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This article offers a rethinking of a fundamental area of higher education research and practice: the concept of belonging. Extending the considerable international research attending to belonging, we suggest that normative narratives often contain a number of omissions. Such omissions include a consideration of the experiences of those students wh...
Article
Ever wondered why academics make things so difficult? Ajjawi and Eva explain with their introduction of the 2021 State of the Science issue and this year's theme of Solution‐ism.
Article
Feedback pedagogies and research tend to focus on immediate corrective actions rather than learning for the longer term. This approach means that feedback may not support trainees who are managing complex, competing, and ambiguous practice situations, often with limited supervision. There is an opportunity to consider how feedback can help medical...
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IntroductionPatient demographics demand physicians who are competent in and embrace palliative care as part of their professional identity. Published literature describes ways that learners acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes for palliative care. These studies are, however, limited by their focus on the individual where learning is about acquis...
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Context Research in health professions education (HPE) spans diverse terrain, which brings richness to our understanding of complex phenomena and challenges us to appreciate different approaches to studying them. To fully appreciate and benefit from this diversity, scholars in HPE must be savvy to the hallmarks of rigor that differ across research...
Chapter
Assessment exists within a series of pedagogical, administrative and technological legacy practices. It tends therefore to reflect the needs and concerns of a previous time. However, this does not align with a digitally enabled world with rapidly expanding information and an increasingly dynamic view of knowledge. This chapter explores how to reima...
Chapter
Graduates must learn to present a version of themselves that aligns with the expectations and norms of their discipline or profession, organisations in which they might work and the public at large; and to be able to adapt as they change careers and workplaces. Persona studies offers a lens for reimagining more authentic forms of assessment design,...
Article
Background: A range of research methods have been used to understand effective workplace learning in the health professions. The impact of findings from this research usually requires knowledge translation activities in the form of faculty development initiatives, such as supervisor workshops. Far rarer, but with greater potential, are research ap...
Article
The imperative to legitimise qualitative research approaches is not new. Indeed, in the 1960’s Glaser and Strauss published their book on grounded theory ‘to help provide a defense’ for researchers engaging in ‘creative’ qualitative studies.1, p7 Similarly, in this issue, Andreassen et al.2 bring the notion of focused ethnography to the medical edu...
Chapter
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This chapter provides a commentary on the potential choices, processes, and decisions involved in undertaking a systematic review. It does this through using an illustrative case example, which draws on the application of systematic review principles at each stage as it actually happened. The chapter firstly introduces the topic of ‘student engagem...
Book
This book is the first to explore the big question of how assessment can be refreshed and redesigned in an evolving digital landscape. There are many exciting possibilities for assessments that contribute dynamically to learning. However, the interface between assessment and technology is limited. Often, assessment designers do not take advantage o...
Article
Background: The notion of culture is increasingly invoked in the medical education literature as a key influence on how educational strategies unfold, and culture change is frequently identified as a necessary precursor to progress. A meaningful perspective on what culture means is often missing from these discussions, however. Without a theoretic...
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Ensuring student success has long been on the research agenda in higher education. In this study, we seek to understand if the changes students make in light of academic failure are consistent with this literature. Little is known about students who fail but subsequently persist in their studies. Through an online survey with students who had faile...
Article
Sociomaterial perspectives in research are those that encourage researchers to focus their inquiry on the relationships between people (social) and things (material), rather than focusing solely on people. The unique possibility of sociomaterial perspectives is increasingly recognized in health professions education scholarship. In an effort to sup...
Chapter
This chapter provides an orientation to research approaches in surgical education. Education research seeks to deepen the knowledge and understanding of learning and pedagogy. We start with highlighting common research paradigms. Beliefs about knowledge and reality influence research questions and design, and so it is important to be aware of these...
Article
This paper offers a critical and theoretical exploration of the contemporary use of standards in assessment in higher education. It outlines three discourses of assessment standards. Each perspective foregrounds particular realities and backgrounds others, and so influences practice in particular taken-for-granted ways. The assumptions of these per...
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Academic failure is an important and personal event in the lives of university students, and the ways they make sense of experiences of failure matters for their persistence and future success. Academic failure contributes to attrition, yet the extent of this contribution and precipitating factors of failure are not well understood. To illuminate t...
Chapter
This chapter offers a useful overview of the purpose, development and structure of this book on feedback impact. It begins by touching on the reason for this book and then provides an outline of the process of how the editors and authors worked together to break new ground. We then explain the structure of the book—describing the five parts: feedba...
Chapter
The feedback literature has a habit of treating emotion as a form of interference. Therefore many guidelines for improving practice are geared towards reducing learners’ emotions so that messages can “get through” and take root. In this chapter, we present a case for a re-orientation of how we conceive the role of emotion in feedback. We use a soci...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on influences, affordances and challenges for teachers in designing for (and identifying) feedback impact. We propose four key questions that need to be asked: Do learners know the purpose of feedback and their role(s) in it? Can learners make sense of the information? Can learners take action? What effects should we be looking...
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This chapter discusses researching feedback inputs and processes to examine effects. Specifically, we promote a research agenda that contributes an understanding of how feedback works, for particular learners, in particular circumstances through research designs that take account of theory, occur in naturalistic settings and focus on students’ sens...
Chapter
This chapter offers new insight regarding the theoretical, methodological and practical concerns relating to feedback in higher education. It begins with the construction of a new definition of feedback. We explain how feedback is a learner-centred process in which impact is a core feature. The chapter then explores the reasons why identifying, let...
Chapter
This chapter argues that researchers must look beyond narrow and simple notions of feedback impact in educational practice. It draws comparisons with what has occurred within student engagement research. This illustrates the challenges of researching a phenomenon that lacks conceptual clarity and hence gives rise to a range of contradictory measure...
Article
Context: Research suggests that feedback in the health professions is less useful than we would like. In this paper, we argue that feedback has become reliant on myths that perpetuate unproductive rituals. Feedback often resembles a discrete episode of an educator "telling," rather than an active and iterative involvement of the learner in a futur...
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‘Transparency’ is frequently invoked when describing assessment criteria in higher education. However, there are limitations to the metaphor: ‘transparent’ representations give the illusion that everything can (and should) be explicated, and that students are ‘seeing through’ to the educators’ expectations. Drawing from sociomaterial perspectives o...
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Introduction Supporting medical students’ and junior doctors’ development in busy clinical settings is challenging. As opportunities for developing trainees, for example, traditional bedside teaching, are decreasing, teaching outside of clinical practice is increasing. However, evidence suggests that effective learning through practice arises via a...
Article
Work-integrated learning (WIL) is a feature of university courses, both in professional areas, where it is commonplace, but also across many different disciplines. Assessment of WIL can be complex as it involves parties and settings external to the university, and it can be problematic because of difficulties in aligning learning activities during...
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Medical education is a messy tangle of social and material elements. These material entities include tools, like curriculum guides, stethoscopes, cell phones, accreditation standards, and mannequins; natural elements, like weather systems, disease vectors, and human bodies; and, objects, like checklists, internet connections, classrooms, lights, ch...
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Ajjawi highlights tensions regarding research quality in diverse fields such as medical education. Is open peer‐review the answer?
Book
This book asks how we might conceptualise, design for and evaluate the impact of feedback in higher education. Ultimately, the purpose of feedback is to improve what students can do: therefore, effective feedback must have impact. Students need to be actively engaged in seeking, sense-making and acting upon any information provided to them in order...
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The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is a ubiquitous part of medical education, although there is some debate about its value, particularly around possible impact on learning. Literature and research regarding the OSCE is most often situated within the psychometric or competency discourses of assessment. This paper describes an alte...
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The notion of “transparency” has been extensively critiqued with respect to higher education. These critiques have serious implications for how educators may think about, develop, and work with assessment criteria. This conceptual paper draws from constructivist and post-structural critiques of transparency to challenge two myths associated with as...
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In the latest installment of the “When I say…” series, Ajjawi and Regehr assert that the term feedback should be reserved for a dynamic and co constructive process in a shared social or cultural space.
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Objective To better understand the potential of a needs assessment approach using qualitative data from manikin-based and virtual patient simulation debriefing sessions compared with traditional data collection methods (ie, focus groups and interviews). Design Original data from simulation debrief sessions was compared and contrasted with data fro...
Article
In the latest installment of the “When I say…” series, Ajjawi and Regehr assert that the term feedback should be reserved for a dynamic and co constructive process in a shared social or cultural space.
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Full-text available
Evaluative judgement is the capability to make decisions about the quality of work of oneself and others. In this paper, we propose that developing students’ evaluative judgement should be a goal of higher education, to enable students to improve their work and to meet their future learning needs: a necessary capability of graduates. We explore eva...
Data
Table S6. Contexts, interventions, mechanisms and outcomes identified in individual studies.
Data
Table S1. Definitions of key terms. Table S2. MeSH terms and a selection of key terms utilised in the database searches. Table S3. Inclusion and exclusion criteria with respect to topic, recentness and type of article. Table S4. Refined inclusion and exclusion criteria to include contextual parameters. Table S5. Studies by type: qualitative, qu...
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Demand for postgraduate qualifications in medical education can be judged by the increase in providers worldwide over the last two decades. However, research into the impact of such courses on identity formation of healthcare professionals is limited. This study investigates the influence of such programmes on graduates’ educational identities, pra...
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Context Research environments, or cultures, are thought to be the most influential predictors of research productivity. Although several narrative and systematic reviews have begun to identify the characteristics of research‐favourable environments, these reviews have ignored the contextual complexities and multiplicity of environmental characteris...
Book
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A key skill to be mastered by graduates today is the ability to assess the quality of their own work, and the work of others. This book demonstrates how the higher education system might move away from a culture of unhelpful grades and rigid marking schemes, to focus instead on forms of feedback and assessment that develop the critical skills of it...
Article
While written and audio feedback have been well-examined by researchers, video feedback has received less attention. This review establishes the current state of research into video feedback encompassing three formats: talking head, screencast and combination screencast. Existing research shows that video feedback has a high level of acceptability...
Article
Research has conventionally viewed feedback from the point of view of the input, thus analysing only one side of the feedback relationship. More recently, there has been an increased interest in understanding feedback-as-talk. Feedback dialogue has been conceptualised as the dynamic interplay of three dimensions: the cognitive, the social-affective...
Chapter
Critique has been levelled at the use of models for feedback practices that ignore context in health professions education. Models such as the ‘feedback sandwich’ are often adopted as rules to be followed regardless of the situation. In this chapter, we utilise an updated version of the Bronfenbrenner ecological framework of human development to un...
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Background Fellowship training follows certification in a primary specialty or subspecialty and focusses on distinct and advanced clinical and/or academic skills. This phase of medical education is growing in prevalence, but has been an “invisible phase of postgraduate training” lacking standards for education and accreditation, as well as funding....
Article
Purpose: Learning can be conceptualized as a process of "becoming," considering individuals, workplace participation, and professional identity formation. How postgraduate trainees learn palliative care, encompassing technical competence, compassion, and empathy, is not well understood or explained by common conceptualizations of learning as "acqu...
Article
Context: Patient care activity has recently increased without a proportionate rise in workforce numbers, impacting negatively on health care workplace learning. Health care professionals are prepared in part by spending time in clinical practice, and for medical staff this constitutes a contribution to service. Although stakeholders have identifie...
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Background Previous studies have identified tensions medical faculty encounter in their roles but not specifically those with a qualification in medical education. It is likely that those with postgraduate qualifications may face additional tensions (i.e., internal or external conflicts or concerns) from differentiation by others, greater responsib...
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Supervision in the outpatient context is increasingly in the form of single day interactions between students and preceptors. This creates difficulties for effective feedback, which often depends on a strong relationship of trust between preceptor and student. Building on feedback theories focusing on the relational and dialogic aspects of feedback...
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Objectives This study aimed to identify national dental education research (DER) priorities for the next 3–5 years and to identify barriers and enablers to DER. Setting Scotland. Participants In this two-stage online questionnaire study, we collected data with multiple dental professions (eg, dentistry, dental nursing and dental hygiene) and stak...
Article
Context: Qualitative research is widely accepted as a legitimate approach to inquiry in health professions education (HPE). To secure this status, qualitative researchers have developed a variety of strategies (e.g. reliance on post-positivist qualitative methodologies, use of different rhetorical techniques, etc.) to facilitate the acceptance of...
Article
Context: Several recent studies have documented the fact that, in considering feedback, learners are actively making credibility judgements about the feedback and its source. Yet few have intentionally explored such judgements to gain a deeper understanding of how the process works or how these judgements might interact to influence engagement wit...