Original Research

The development of self skills in an authentic learning environment: A qualitative study

Gugu Ndawo
Curationis | Vol 45, No 1 | a2198 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v45i1.2198 | © 2022 Maria Gugu Ndawo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 October 2020 | Published: 18 January 2022

About the author(s)

Gugu Ndawo, Department of Nursing, Faculty Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: The contemporary healthcare environment is an authentic, demanding, challenging and ever-changing environment that requires learners to possess good self skills when they need to engage in meaningful, critical discourse in order to solve authentic problems. However, nurse educators assume that learners already have well-developed self skills at the commencement of their nursing training and as a result do not explicitly teach and develop such skills in the learners.

Objectives: The objectives of this research were to explore and describe nurse educators’ views on how learners’ self skills can be developed within an authentic learning (AL) environment, and to formulate recommendations based on the findings.

Method: A qualitative and contextual research design was used to seek rich, in-depth data from 20 nurse educators who were purposively sampled. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted, and the data were analysed using Miles, Huberman and Saldaña method.

Results: The three themes that emerged were that nurse educators should (1) ensure an AL environment that promotes self skills, (2) engage learners in activities that will consciously evoke authentic self and (3) evaluate the developed self skills and metacognition.

Conclusion: By developing good self skills, learners should be able to deliver quality patient care, find solutions to complex problems and handle cognitive complexity and authentic conditions whilst creating their own identity.


authentic learning; nursing education; self; self-awareness; self skills


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