An instructional model for training competence in solving clinical problems

J Vet Med Educ. Winter 2011;38(4):360-72. doi: 10.3138/jvme.38.4.360.


We examined the design of a course that aims to ease the transition from pre-clinical learning into clinical work. This course is based on the premise that many of the difficulties with which students are confronted in this transition result from a lack of experience in applying knowledge in real practice situations. It is focused on the development of competence in solving clinical problems; uses an instructional model with alternating clinical practicals, demonstrations, and tutorials; and extends throughout the last pre-clinical year. We used a "proof-of-concept" approach to establish whether the core principles of the course design are feasible with regard to achieving the intended results. With the learning functions and processes as a frame of reference, retrospective analysis of the course's design features shows that this design matches the conditions from theories of the development of competence in solving clinical problems and instructional design. Three areas of uncertainty in the design are identified: the quality of the cases (information, openness), effective teaching (student and teacher roles), and adjustment to the development of competence (progress, coherence).

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Competency-Based Education / methods*
  • Education, Veterinary / methods*
  • Humans
  • Netherlands
  • Preceptorship / methods*
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Schools, Veterinary
  • Students, Health Occupations