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A WhatsApp community forum for improving critical thinking and practice skills of mental health providers in a conflict zone

by | Mar 5, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

A violent conflict, known as the Anglophone Crisis has been occuring in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon since 2016. This conflict and associated consequences have affected the way healthcare is provided. To help meet the needs of healthcare workers and other service providers, a community of practice called ‘The Forum’ was established using WhatsApp Messenger. This mobile learning group aimed to support, equip, and encourage practitioners to engage in critical thinking skills, enabling them to incorporate ongoing learning into their practice. A qualitative phenomenological approach was used to evaluate the experiences of 13 Forum participants through in-depth individual interviews. Four themes were identified: (1) interactive learning to enhance critical thinking; (2) self-regulated learning strategies; (3) WhatsApp as an effective platform to support critical thinking and learning in a conflict zone; and (4) application to practice. This study shows that through participating in The Forum, users engaged in critical thinking on various mental health topics and applied new skills to their professional practice. Impacts of this study include practical implications with recommendations for those looking to develop a collaborative learning community in similar conditions, as well as theoretical contributions.


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