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A skill to be worked at: Using social learning theory to explore the process of learning from role models in clinical settings

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Title: A skill to be worked at: Using social learning theory to explore the process of learning from role models in clinical settings
Authors: Horsburgh, JL
Ippolito, K
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background: Role modelling is widely accepted as being a highly influential teaching and learning method in medical education but little attention is given to understanding how students learn from role models. This study focuses on role modelling as an active, dynamic process, involving observational learning and aims to explore the process involved, including strategies that learners and medical teachers use to support this. Methods: To gain insight into medical students’ and clinical teachers’ understanding of learning through role modelling, a qualitative, interpretative methodology was adopted, using one-to-one semi-structured interviews. Six final year medical students and five clinical teachers were purposefully sampled and interviewed. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. The data were then analysed using open and axial coding before codes were combined to develop broader themes. Results: Students could identify ways in which they learnt from role models but acknowledged that this was complex and haphazard. They described selectively and consciously paying attention, using retention strategies, reproducing observed behaviour and being motivated to imitate. Students evidenced the powerful impact of direct and vicarious reinforcement. Clinical teachers reported using strategies to help students learn, but these were not always consciously or consistently applied or informed by teachers’ understanding of their students’ cognitive processing. Conclusion Findings illustrate in what ways the process of learning from role models in clinical settings is challenging. They also support the relevancy and usefulness of Bandura’s four stage social learning model for understanding this process and informing recommendations to make learning from role modelling more systematic and effective.
Issue Date: 3-Jul-2018
Date of Acceptance: 29-May-2018
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/60450
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-018-1251-x
ISSN: 1472-6920
Publisher: BioMed Central
Journal / Book Title: BMC Medical Education
Volume: 18
Keywords: Bandura
Clinical teaching
Observation
Reinforcement
Role modelling
Social learning theory
Attention
Comprehension
Education, Medical
Faculty, Medical
Formative Feedback
Humans
Imitative Behavior
Motivation
Physician's Role
Retention (Psychology)
Social Learning
Students, Medical
Teaching
Humans
Imitative Behavior
Motivation
Physician's Role
Comprehension
Retention (Psychology)
Attention
Education, Medical
Faculty, Medical
Students, Medical
Teaching
Formative Feedback
Social Learning
Medical Informatics
1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
1117 Public Health and Health Services
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: ARTN 156
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