Theories of teaching and learning, and teaching methods used in postgraduate education in the health sciences: A scoping review




Poster session 2 Thursday: Evidence synthesis - methods / improving conduct and reporting


Thursday 14 September 2017 - 12:30 to 14:00


All authors in correct order:

McInerney P1, Green-Thompson L1
1 University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Trish McInerney

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: Postgraduate education has not received as much attention as undergraduate teaching in the literature in terms of methods used, innovative ideas and outcomes. Teaching at graduate level in the health-science disciplines is a complex endeavour, as higher-level knowledge, skill acquisition and decision making must be taught in a world which is seeing more complex and varied health problems. This scoping review was prompted by the reviewers’ personal experiences. Requests for help in teaching at the postgraduate level have been raised when conducting teaching workshops for faculty.

Review question: Which theories of teaching and learning and/or models and / or methods of teaching are used in postgraduate teaching?

Methodology: The scoping review methodology described by the Joanna Briggs Institute was implemented. This scoping review considered studies conducted in the health-science disciplines, including but not limited to medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, pharmacy and dentistry.
Both quasi-experimental study designs and analytical observational studies and analytical cross-sectional studies were considered for inclusion. Also considered were descriptive observational study designs. Qualitative studies, text and opinion papers were also considered.
Pubmed, CINAHL, Scopus, ERIC and ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health Source and ProQuest Health and Medical Complete were searched.
A data extraction table was developed.

Results: A total of 5381 papers were identified. Sixty-one papers were included in the review, the majority of which were from the medical disciplines. Most of the studies were undertaken in the USA. Surveys were the most common research method used. While a number of innovative teaching methods were described, didactic teaching in the form of lectures was often included in the teaching of the programme. Theories of teaching and learning seldom formed the basis for the innovation.

Conclusion: Theories of teaching and learning are often only alluded to, with poor explanation of application of the theory to practice .