Benefiting from clinical experience: the influence of learning style and clinical experience on performance in an undergraduate objective structured clinical examination

Med Educ. 2000 Jul;34(7):530-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2000.00489.x.


Objective: To assess the relationship between clinical experience, learning style and performance in an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) in medical students at the end of their first clinical year.

Design: Prospective study of undergraduate students taking an OSCE examination at the end of their first clinical year.

Subjects: 194 undergraduate medical students (95 male).

Main outcome measures: Performance in the OSCE examination, the Entwhistle Learning Style Inventory1 and a composite self-reported score of clinical activity during the students first clinical year.

Results: Performance in the OSCE examination was related to well-organized study methods but not to clinical experience. A significant relationship between clinical experience and organized deep-learning styles suggests that knowledge gained from clinical experience is related to learning style.

Conclusions: The relationship between clinical experience and student performance is complex. Well-organized and strategic learning styles appear to influence the benefits of increased clinical exposure. Further work is required to elucidate the most beneficial aspects of clinical teaching.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Students, Medical / psychology*