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Facilitating Learning in the Workplace

Facilitating Learning in the Workplace

Workplace-based learning has long been an integral aspect of all stages of medical education and training. Traditionally in medicine, workplace-based learning took the form of a series of prolonged apprenticeships, with long working hours and long hospital stays creating plenty of opportunities to learn by ‘osmosis’. These traditional models of apprenticeship are challenged by recent and ongoing reform of both training and healthcare. The new training curricula, alongside working time directives, centralisation of specialist services and shorter hospital stays, mean we need to look to new models of apprenticeship that ensure our students and trainees have opportunities to learn ‘on the job’ while ‘doing the job’.

In this module we will explore some theoretical perspectives on workplace-based learning and consider how they can help us support the workplace-based learning of our students and trainees. It includes some practical suggestions on how to enhance learning while working.

By the end of this module you should have a clearer sense of the opportunities for learning that present themselves in everyday working practice. You should be more able to identify the ways in which you can create an environment where learning can take place and have a wider range of strategies to support this learning.

Before you start

Before you start the module we recommend that you spend a few minutes thinking about the following points and noting down some of your thoughts. If you are registered on the site, you can do this in the ‘reflections area’. Click on the ‘my area’ link at the top of the page to access your personal pages. Please note that you must be logged in to do this. Please also note that you will need to contribute to the ‘reflections area’ during the course of the module in order to complete and print out your certificate.

Thinking points

Think about your current and recent workplace(s) and consider your opportunities for learning.

  • What are the ways in which you and/or your students/trainees learn through work-related activity?
  • What seems to challenge opportunities for you and/or your students/trainees to learn through work-related activity?
  • What does workplace-based learning seem to offer that ‘classroom-based’ learning does not?

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Further information

More information about this module, further reading and a complete list of glossary terms.

Learning activities

Read about the recommended learning activities for this module.