What can evidence-based education and healthcare learn from each other?

This session will cut across the four themes of the conference:

  • Evidence production: Abstracts concerning primary research production.
  • Evidence synthesis: Abstracts concerning different forms of research synthesis: overviews, scoping reviews, systematic reviews, etc. 
  • Evidence tools: Abstracts concerning guidelines and other knowledge-translation methods and tools. 
  • Evidence implementation and evaluation: Abstracts concerning getting evidence into policy and practice.

Exciting opportunities for cross-sector collaboration and learning are emerging between healthcare and education in relation to developing evidence-informed policy and practice (BMJ 2017;357:j2234). In this session, participants will discuss opportunities for advances in both fields through the exchange of ideas and innovations, sharing of mistakes and successes, and collaboration on common goals.

Education can benefit greatly through learning from the established processes and practices in healthcare, whilst recent developments in education can reinvigorate the evidence-based medicine agenda. A shared agenda is emerging on two fronts: on practical topics that cross both fields and on common methodological and conceptual issues. One shared area of interest, critical thinking, will be discussed as an example of needs and opportunities for collaboration. In education, there is increasing emphasis on the need to developing critical thinking skills, beginning in primary schools, both to improve academic outcomes and to promote wider reasoning and problem-solving capabilities. In healthcare, critical appraisal is a specific subset of critical thinking applied to the use of research evidence to inform health decisions, which has been the focus of evidence-based medicine. The discussion in this session will include both small and large group discussion. It will be structured around three topics:

  1. Evidence-informed guidance for teaching critical appraisal skills and for teaching critical thinking What are we doing now to teach these skills, how effective are we, and what lessons have we learned? What guidance is currently available and what evidence is there to inform such guidance? 
  2. Designing and evaluating effective approaches to teaching these skills What is needed to improve teaching of these skills, and how should we go about developing and evaluating more effective approaches? 
  3. Other opportunities for collaboration How can evidence-based education and healthcare collaborate to improve critical thinking skills and other shared goals.


Target audience: 

Everyone interested in using evidence to improve education and healthcare and in collaboration between efforts to support well-informed decisions in education and healthcare.

Type of session: 


Other contributors:

Sharples J1, Boruch B2
1 Education Endowment Foundation, UK
2 University of Pennsylvania, USA


Wednesday 13 September 2017 - 14:00 to 15:30