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Perspect Med Educ. 2013 May 3. [Epub ahead of print]

Medical students' reactions to an experience-based learning model of clinical education.

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Northwest Deanery, Three Piccadilly Place, Manchester, M1 3BN, UK,


An experience-based learning (ExBL) model proposes: Medical students learn in workplaces by 'supported participation'; affects are an important dimension of support; many learning outcomes are affective; supported participation influences students' professional identity development. The purpose of the study was to check how the model, which is the product of a series of earlier research studies, aligned with students' experiences, akin to the 'member checking' stage of a qualitative research project. In three group discussions, a researcher explained ExBL to 19 junior clinical students, who discussed how it corresponded with their experiences of clinical learning and were given a written précis of it to take away. One to 3 weeks later, they wrote 500-word reflective pieces relating to their subsequent experiences with ExBL. Four researchers conducted a qualitative analysis. Having found many instances of responses 'resonating' to the model, the authors systematically identified and coded respondents' 'resonances' to define how they aligned with their experiences. 120 resonances were identified. Seventy (58 %) were positive experiences and 50 (42 %) negative ones. Salient experiences were triggered by the learning environment in 115 instances (96 %) and by learners themselves in 5 instances (4 %), consistent with a strong effect of environment on learning processes. Affective support was apparent in 129 of 203 statements (64 %) of resonances and 118 learning outcomes (58 %) were also affective. ExBL aligns with medical students' experiences of clinical learning. Subject to further research, these findings suggest ExBL could be used to support the preparation of faculty and students for workplace learning.

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