Context: The impact of faculty development activities aimed at improving the teaching skills of clinical instructors requires elucidation. Since 2003, all instructors at our school of medicine have been required to undertake a brief workshop in basic clinical instructional skills as a prerequisite for promotion and tenure. The impact of this has, so far, remained unknown.
Objective: This study aimed to examine to what extent participation in a brief workshop can improve clinical instructors' performance in the long run, and which particular dimensions of performance are improved.
Methods: The study included a sample of 149 faculty members who undertook a required workshop in basic instructional skills. The teaching performance of these faculty members was measured by student feedback a year after the workshop. The study used pre- and post-test design, with a comparison group of 121 faculty members.
Results: Student ratings for 5 dimensions of clinical instruction increased significantly, but only for the study group who had participated in a workshop. The comparison group's ratings were unchanged. The highest improvement in the instructors' performance related to availability of teachers to students.
Conclusions: The study supports previous findings about the added value gained by longterm improvement of instructional skills after participation in even a brief workshop. The meaningful improvement in instructor availability to students is associated with the workshops' emphasis on a learner-centred approach and the need to provide continuous feedback.