Using VoiceThread to Promote Collaborative Learning in On-Line Clinical Nurse Leader Courses

The movement to advance the clinical nurse leader (CNL) as an innovative new role for meeting higher health care quality standards continues with CNL programs offered on-line at colleges and universities nationwide. Collaborative learning activities offer the opportunity for CNL students to gain experience in working together in small groups to negotiate and solve care process problems. The challenge for nurse educators is to provide collaborative learning activities in an asynchronous learning environment that can be considered isolating by default. This article reports on the experiences of 17 CNL students who used VoiceThread, a cloud-based tool that allowed them to communicate asynchronously with one another through voice comments for collaboration and sharing knowledge. Participants identified benefits and drawbacks to using VoiceThread for collaboration as compared to text-based discussion boards. Students reported that the ability to hear the voice of their peers and the instructor helped them feel like they were in a classroom communicating with “real” instructor and peers. Students indicated a preference for on-line classes that used VoiceThread discussions to on-line classes that used only text-based discussion boards.