Effect of the learning climate of residency programs on faculty's teaching performance as evaluated by residents

PLoS One. 2014 Jan 28;9(1):e86512. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086512. eCollection 2014.


Background: To understand teaching performance of individual faculty, the climate in which residents' learning takes place, the learning climate, may be important. There is emerging evidence that specific climates do predict specific outcomes. Until now, the effect of learning climate on the performance of the individual faculty who actually do the teaching was unknown.

Objectives: THIS STUDY: (i) tested the hypothesis that a positive learning climate was associated with better teaching performance of individual faculty as evaluated by residents, and (ii) explored which dimensions of learning climate were associated with faculty's teaching performance.

Methods and materials: We conducted two cross-sectional questionnaire surveys amongst residents from 45 residency training programs and multiple specialties in 17 hospitals in the Netherlands. Residents evaluated the teaching performance of individual faculty using the robust System for Evaluating Teaching Qualities (SETQ) and evaluated the learning climate of residency programs using the Dutch Residency Educational Climate Test (D-RECT). The validated D-RECT questionnaire consisted of 11 subscales of learning climate. Main outcome measure was faculty's overall teaching (SETQ) score. We used multivariable adjusted linear mixed models to estimate the separate associations of overall learning climate and each of its subscales with faculty's teaching performance.

Results: In total 451 residents completed 3569 SETQ evaluations of 502 faculty. Residents also evaluated the learning climate of 45 residency programs in 17 hospitals in the Netherlands. Overall learning climate was positively associated with faculty's teaching performance (regression coefficient 0.54, 95% confidence interval: 0.37 to 0.71; P<0.001). Three out of 11 learning climate subscales were substantially associated with better teaching performance: 'coaching and assessment', 'work is adapted to residents' competence', and 'formal education'.

Conclusions: Individual faculty's teaching performance evaluations are positively affected by better learning climate of residency programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical*
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Learning*
  • Professional Competence*
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Students, Medical*

Grant support

The project was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Health and Welfare and is co-financed by the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam and the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences of the Maastricht University. Prof. Arah was supported by a Veni career grant (number 916.96.059) from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.