The course of critical care nursing (3CH) comprised of sixteen units, of five –months duration. Learning in each unit was based on one trigger case scenario along with seven to nine fixed resource sessions. In comparison to the trigger group work, fixed resource sessions are more didactic in nature but designed to cover specific material linked to the triggers (Wilkie & Burns 2003). Trigger work in cohort took place in 8-10 groups of up to eight to ten students facilitated by a tutor. This was guided by a process originally outlined by Schmidt (1983) and referred to as the ‘Maastricht Seven Step Model’ (Matheson & Haas 2010). Students establish an understanding of outstanding issues in the trigger and, ultimately, move to a synthesis of knowledge acquired through their individual investigations of varying facets of the trigger problem.
The Maastricht Seven Step model was initially devised to provide students with a structured approach to a PBL session. In this model, students work together in small groups each with individual roles following seven defined steps.
1. Clarify. The students read through the problem, then identify and clarify any words, equations or physical concepts that they do not understand.
2. Define. The students work together to define what they think the problem is.
3. Analyze. The students discuss or ‘brainstorm’ the problem. At this stage there is no prioritization or sifting of ideas.
4. Review. Students now try to arrange their ideas and explanations into tentative solutions.