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Selection as a learning experience: an exploratory study

Authors de Visser M, Laan RF, Engbers R, Cohen-Schotanus J, Fluit C

Received 2 February 2018

Accepted for publication 9 March 2018

Published 10 May 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 345—355

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S164446

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Majumder


Marieke de Visser,1 Roland F Laan,1 Rik Engbers,1 Janke Cohen-Schotanus,2 Cornelia Fluit1

1Department for Research in Learning and Education, Radboudumc Health Academy, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; 2Center for Research and Innovation in Medical Education, University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

Introduction: Research on selection for medical school does not explore selection as a learning experience, despite growing attention for the learning effects of assessment in general. Insight in the learning effects allows us to take advantage of selection as an inclusive part of medical students’ learning process to become competent professionals. The aims of this study at Radboud University Medical Center, the Netherlands, were 1) to determine whether students have learning experiences in the selection process, and, if so, what experiences; and 2) to understand what students need in order to utilize the learning effects of the selection process at the start of the formal curriculum.
Materials and methods: We used focus groups to interview 30 students admitted in 2016 about their learning experiences in the selection process. Thematic analysis was used to explore the outcomes of the interviews and to define relevant themes.
Results: In the selection process, students learned about the curriculum, themselves, their relation to others, and the profession they had been selected to enter, although this was not explicitly perceived as learning. Students needed a connection between selection and the curriculum as well as feedback to be able to really use their learning experiences for their further development.
Discussion: Medical school selection qualifies as a learning experience, and students as well as medical schools can take advantage of this. We recommend a careful design of the selection procedure, integrating relevant selection learning experiences into the formal curriculum, providing feedback and explicitly approaching the selection and the formal curriculum as interconnected contributors to students’ development.

Keywords: admission, assessment, medical school qualitative research, students, curriculum

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