Using LEGO® Serious Play® Methodology in supporting Nigerian nursing students' sociocultural transitions to UK higher education: A phenomenological research study

Benjamin O. Ajibade*, Catherine Hayes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction
From an historical perspective the United Kingdom (UK) has been the first European country of choice for Nigerian students wishing to study overseas. As an international contingent, Nigerian students continue to represent the UK's third largest international student body. This paper provides an insight into research undertaken to examine students' capacity to transition into the UK Higher Education system from a sociocultural perspective. Across the UK Higher Education Institutions (HEI's) have addressed issues surrounding internationalisation and decolonisation of the portfolio of programmes available to overseas students, with strategic curriculum design and justification processes evident in the extant literature. This project uses an innovative approach for the facilitation of dialogue with international students about their experiences of transitioning into UK systems of learning and teaching using a social constructivism approach.

Aims
The aim of the research was to explore sociocultural perspectives which impacted on self-reported transitions to UK HEI's by Nigerian students. The objectives of the study were to a) provide a reflective lens of perspective on international student transitioning experiences for HEIs, educators and policymakers b) illuminate the challenges and barriers faced by Nigerian students during their transition from Nigerian to UK HE systems and infrastructures and c) to co-construct authentic and pragmatic knowledge of how best Nigerian students can be supported in their transition to UK HEI's.

Methods
Smith (2010) interpretive phenomenological analysis, integrating qualitative research methods was implemented as a means of undertaking research facilitated using LEGO® Serious Play® Methodology as an innovative method of data collection. Twenty participants were recruited purposively to the study from an annual cohort of nursing students at a satellite Higher Education Institution (HEI) campus in Metropolitan city. Quirkos was used as a software package in analysing the data and establishing the salience as well as the commonality of emergent themes.

Results
Findings reveal the extent to which sociocultural acclimation is of importance in the process of transition to UK HEIs. The perception of complex ambiguity surrounding the design and delivery of UK academic curricula was also reported as challenging by Nigerian students. Self-reported comments from Nigerian nursing students revealed the priori existence of negative learning experience, including lack of IT facilities, culturally rooted family expectations and responsibilities which then influenced perceptions and experiences of learning and teaching in the UK. Negative experiences included perceptions of racism regarding skin colour, fashion sense and UK practice focused on authentic assessment opportunities.

Conclusion
The small purposive sample of participants who engaged in this study, illuminated that students' prior experiences have the potential to influence their current pedagogical experience, in accordance with the principles of social constructivism. Most participants reported their experience of the transition period of entry to UK education varied between individuals, perhaps most significantly that perceptions of acculturation, acclimatisation and overall transition to the UK took between four and six months for a programme that may only have one year's duration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105582
Number of pages14
JournalNurse Education Today
Volume119
Early online date30 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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