Enhancing learning approaches: Practical tips for students and teachers

Journal Club Article: Azer, S. A., Guerrero, A. P., & Walsh, A. (2013). Enhancing learning approaches: Practical tips for students and teachersMedical Teacher35(6), 433-443.

Background: To deliver an integrated curriculum such as problem-based learning (PBL), students need to develop a number of learning skills and competencies. These cannot be achieved through memorization of factual knowledge but rather through the development of a wide range of cognitive and noncognitive skills that enhance deep learning rather than superficial learning.

Aim: Provide students and teachers with learning approaches and learning strategies that enhance deep learning.

Methods: literature review around the theories of learning.


Identified 3 themes and 12 tips to apply into day-to-day learning and teaching activities:

Theme 1: Apply specific techniques that foster deep learning

  • Learn how to ask good questions,
  • Use analogy,
  • Construct mechanisms and concept maps,
  • Join a peer-tutoring group,
  • Develop critical thinking skills,
  • Use self-reflection,

Theme 2: Master active learning

  • Use appropriate range of learning resources,
  • Ask for feedback,

Theme 3: Practice learning beyond the classroom

  • Apply knowledge learnt to new problems,
  • practice learning by using simulation,
  • Learn by doing and service learning,
  • Learn from patients.

Further Reading

Nursing Education Network. (2019). 12 Tips for Applying the Science of Learning to Health Professions Education.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall.

Mayer, R. E. (2008). Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instructionAmerican Psychologist63(8), 760.

Young, J. Q., Van Merrienboer, J., Durning, S., & Ten Cate, O. (2014). Cognitive load theory: Implications for medical education: AMEE guide no. 86Medical teacher36(5), 371-384.