Developing students' clinical reasoning skills : correlates of perceived relevance of two teaching and learning approaches

02 May 2017

INTRODUCTION : “Relevance” is a key concept in adult learning. Hence this study sought to examine students perceptions of relevance of the teaching and learning in relation to different instructional designs employed in a Comprehensive Patient Care (CPC) course that aims to develop integrated clinical reasoning skills. METHODS : Third to fifth year students (2009-2011) were asked to anonymously rate the relevance of the CPC instructional design (RELID) they participated in by means of visual analogue scales at the School of Dentistry, University of Pretoria. They were also asked to rate their perceptions of the alignment between teaching and learning and outcomes (ATLO), assessments contribution to learning (ACL), course organisation (CO) and lecturer competence (LC). RELID served as the outcome measure in stepwise linear regression analyses. ATLO, ACL, CO, LC and the instructional design (case-based learning (CBL)=1 and discipline-orientated lecture-based teaching (DOLBT)=0) served as the co-variables for each of the years of study. RESULTS : The analysis showed positive correlations between RELID and ATLO and between RELID and ACL for all the years of study. RELID was associated with LC in year three and four and CO was associated with RELID in year four and five. CBL outperformed DOLBT in terms of perceived relevance of the teaching and learning. CONCLUSION : The results suggest that there are correlations between RELID and indicators of constructive alignment, LC and CO. The teacher's philosophy appears to have a distinct influence on students‟ perceptions of the relevance of teaching and learning.