Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Educator Motives to Pursue Pedagogical Knowledge

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Educator Motives to Pursue Pedagogical Knowledge

Article excerpt


The pursuit of knowledge for health educators is crucial and, in fact, mandatory through continuing education to obtain clinical content knowledge in licensed health professions. (1-3) However, the pursuit of pedagogical knowledge for health educators through professional development is not mandatory. Pedagogical knowledge is defined as the understanding and skills needed in teaching theory and practice. (4-6) In addition, pedagogical knowledge is recognized as valuable for teachers through the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework (Figure 1). (4) The TPACK framework emphasizes the integration and intersection of three key knowledge areas for effective teaching: (1) Technology Knowledge - knowledge of technology as a resource and tool for teaching; (2) Pedagogical Knowledge--knowledge of teaching theory and practice as it relates to students and content; and (3) Content Knowledge--knowledge of a specialized content or topic area.

While content knowledge is typically emphasized as a critical component for health educators, the other two areas are not as well recognized. The lack of mandatory professional development in these areas for health educators is well described, (5-7) and is gaining attention as a problem in higher education. (2,8-14) The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) put increased emphasis on the art and practice of teaching and the assessment of student learning in its 2016 Accreditation Standards and Guidelines. (15) The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) dedicated programs to support faculty needs in teaching and learning. (16,17) Because professional development in pedagogical knowledge remains voluntary, the question moves toward what motivates pharmacists in higher education to pursue pedagogical knowledge.

A fair amount is already known about internal and external motivations for participation in clinical content knowledge in the pharmacy profession. Intrinsic motivation is defined as being driven by an internal source (ie, to learn something new), and extrinsic motivation is defined as being driven by an external source (ie, receiving money). In addition to being a mandatory part of licensure, other external motivations include time, funding, and administrative support. (18-25) Internal motivations to attend clinical continuing education programs include personal desire to learn and desire to demonstrate expertise. (1,3) There is a paucity of literature on what motivates pharmacy faculty members to participate in voluntary pedagogical knowledge development. Motivation is defined in this study as the inspiration behind human behavior. (18) The study explored pharmacy educator motives to pursue life-long learning in pedagogical knowledge through professional development to build a behavioral model that describes motivation.


Pharmacy educators are defined in this study as faculty or staff members employed by higher educational institutions who have teaching responsibilities (eg, instructors, preceptors, librarians, clinicians). This research focused particularly on pharmacy educators and what motivates them to pursue additional knowledge in pedagogy. A mixed-methods approach was used to collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data from pharmacy educators involved in a pedagogy professional development program. Grounded theory was used to analyze qualitative data and create a model of motivation for why faculty members might pursue pedagogical knowledge. Grounded theory is a qualitative research design in which the inquirer generates an explanation of an action shaped by the views of participants who have experienced the action. (26-29) Recurring concepts and ideas in the data were used to create a motivational model. This model was then used as a lens to further explore intrinsic and extrinsic motives.

Participants were all students in a professional development program called Helping Educators Learn Pedagogy (HELP). …

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