1. Listopad, Darlene M. MSN, RN, CNE

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Applying classroom concepts to professional practice sounds good in theory; however, preceptors often struggle with how to apply these concepts while in their work environment. A successful strategy is to teach preceptors using the affective domain. The five stages of the affective learning domain are receiving, responding, valuing, organization, and characterization (Kirk, 2018). Creating an emotional response and utilizing personal experience enable learners to formulate a frame of reference that reshapes their understanding, guides their future actions, and enhances their self-confidence (Mezirow, 2009). This is the second in a series in this column presenting teaching strategies emphasizing the affective domain that were successfully integrated into a preceptor development class.



Learning activities to address the topic of conflict resolution included storytelling, critiquing a video, and role-playing. The facilitator tells a story about an orientee who is running late for work. As the orientee encounters home life frustrations, receives mixed messages from the preceptor, and feels pulled in conflicting directions, she finally "explodes" from the pressure. This narrative is accompanied by a soda bottle being shaken with increasing intensity to match the stress building in the story. The visible accumulation of bubbles within the bottle creates a visceral response as learners make logical connections between their personal experiences of exploding sodas and empathizing with the intensifying stress of the orientee (Bodine, 2018). Understandably, none of the learners volunteer to open the bottle; however, they value the importance of resolving the situation with care and compassion.


To help apply the material participants have learned about conflict resolution, the nursing professional development (NPD) team created a video that contains multiple conflicts among staff members. The video is an effective teaching tool as it provides an emotional connection and gives "insight into human psychology" (Abidi, Madhani, Pasha, & Ali, 2017, p. 37). After viewing the video, preceptors reflect on how they would have responded in a similar situation, and the group discusses how the situation could have been handled differently. Finally, volunteers from the class role-play how to resolve the conflicts noted in the video using the previously identified steps of conflict resolution. As they are discussing how to resolve the issue, they are reacting to each other, becoming emotionally attached, and empathizing with the character they are playing. These activities allow them to safely experience a difficult situation as they progress to the valuing and organization levels of the affective domain (Hans & Solomon, 2014).


Facilitators use a dance-off to tie together the concepts of learning styles, communication, feedback, and coaching. This activity enabled all members of the class to participate and share in the experience while integrating humor. Laughter creates a safe place, allows people to connect emotionally, and creates positive feelings of joy and delight (Wooten, 2015). The dance-off has three stages: instructions only, demonstration with return demonstration, and interactive coaching. The coaching begins with a facilitator acting as the preceptor and another facilitator acting as the orientee. The intent is for the preceptor to teach the orientee a dance routine. Using only verbal instructions, the preceptor rushes the teaching and fails to acknowledge the orientee's learning preference. The orientee feels overwhelmed and is unable to meet the preceptor's expectations. The preceptor improves slightly by including the preferred learning style of the orientee and demonstrates the dance moves. Unfortunately, the escalating stress of the situation and the lack of detailed feedback results in an unsatisfactory dance by the orientee. During the last phase, the preceptor listens to the orientee and provides detailed feedback with suggestions for improvement, and the dance is a success. Finally, the entire class performs the dance-off together. Throughout this activity, the facilitators integrated and role-modeled concepts. This helped the learners to respond and value the lessons presented.



Over the span of 2 years, the Preceptor Development class was taught to 550 preceptors (522 were nurses) over 24 sessions. The participants found the teaching methods to be highly effective (average score of 4.6 out of 5). This was reinforced by their comments:


* "The course made me reflect on how I precept and gave me specific tools."


* "Very hands-on and interactive class made it useful and memorable."


* "This course built my confidence as a preceptor and made me think."


* "Interactive portions of the class helped to cement the information."


* "The interactive exercises reinforced the learning process."


* "The class had creative learning opportunities, which enhanced the learning objectives."




Members of the NPD team presented the content and teaching strategies at the Association for Nursing Professional Development Annual Convention in 2017. During the concurrent session, the presenters shared videos of activities from the Preceptor Development class that showed the participants having fun. As the preceptors demonstrated the coaching session for the dance-off, members of the audience became significantly engaged and voluntarily danced along with the presenters. The audience engagement was a rewarding experience as it demonstrated that fellow NPD practitioners had progressed to the valuing and organization phases of the affective domain during the presentation. The participants found the teaching methods for the concurrent session to be highly effective (average score of 4.7 out of 5). Based on the information provided in the presentation, 83.1% indicated that they were likely to change their practice. Their comments reinforced this commitment to a change:


* "I want to include parts of their content about teaching techniques into my precepting class."


* "Considered the feeling aspect of training and learning."


* "Taking away some ideas[horizontal ellipsis]to get preceptors into the orientee's mind set. In general, we forget what it is like to be a new employee."


* "I will try to incorporate a safe space for people to share their 'bad precepting' moments so they can be empowered to learn from them."


* "Really enjoyed the dance-off as it drove the point home of explanation."


* "Utilize creative teaching strategies such as humor and videos to help the preceptor understand and remember the experience of being a newly licensed RN."




The affective domain is difficult to define and evaluate and, therefore, is frequently overlooked when developing curricula. As NPD practitioners, we need to embrace this somewhat daunting domain and maximize its benefits. We should integrate affective teaching strategies to enhance personal and professional growth while bridging the gap between theory and practice.




Abidi S. H., Madhani S., Pasha A., Ali S. (2017). Use of cinematic films as a teaching/learning tool for adult education. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 29(1), 36-47. [Context Link]


Bodine J. (2018). Precepting and the art of storytelling. Journal of Nursing Professional Development, 34(2), 105-107. [Context Link]


Hans O., Solomon P. (2014). Role-playing as a tool for hiring, training, and supervising peer providers. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 41(2), 216-229. [Context Link]


Kirk K. (2018) What is the affective domain anyway? Retrieved from[Context Link]


Mezirow J. (2009). An overview on transformative learning. In Illeris K. (Ed.), Contemporary theories of learning: Learning their own words (pp. 90-105). Abingdon, England: Routledge. Retrieved from[Context Link]


Wooten P. (2015). Benefits of humor and laughter. ANPD Annual Convention, Las Vegas, NV, July 2015. [Context Link]