Summer 8-14-2015



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Barbara Swanson

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Bradley Gordon

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Kimberly A. Johnson


A qualitative research design was utilized to inform two primary research questions: “How do healthcare educators describe their role[s] and experiences educating providers in a healthcare setting?” and “What adult learning principles, determined by Malcolm Knowles, can be identified in provider education materials utilized in a healthcare setting?” Ten participants, who self-identified as healthcare educators utilizing an electronic medical record as a tool for teaching medical providers, participated in semi-structured interviews. Interview participants also submitted education materials they utilize to train medical providers at six healthcare organizations. From the ten interviews, seven categories were determined: research interview participant descriptions, role of a healthcare educator, memorable experiences while educating providers, healthcare educator in a learning organization, Malcolm Knowles and adult learning, technology and innovation, and additional insights gleaned from the participants. Participants describe their role as healthcare educators, the importance of their role in a healthcare organization, and their beliefs regarding provider education. Overall, participants believe that their role is important and impactful to the individual providers and the healthcare organizations they work with. Six healthcare organizations from the upper Midwest submitted two provider education documents for review. These materials included provider education manuals, clinician tip sheets, provider education assessments, and facilitator guides. The provider education materials were reviewed to determine if Malcolm Knowles’ six learning principles could be identified. The main principle identified in the documents was the orientation to learning, which emphasizes the adult learners’ preference to learn items that will help them perform or solve real-life tasks and problems. Principle six, motivation, is the second-most utilized principle, and addresses internal and external motivation in adult learners. Adult learning principles, similar to Knowles’, should be embedded in provider education within healthcare.


Adult Education, Healthcare Education, Workplace Education, Organizational Learning

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