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Becoming a doctor: using social constructivism and situated learning to understand the clinical clerkship experiences of undergraduate medical students

Cho, H | Jeong, H | Yu, J  | Lee, J  | Jung, HJ
BMC medical education, 24(1). : 236-236, 2024
Journal Title
BMC medical education
Background: Despite the emphasis on the uniqueness and educational importance of clinical clerkships in medical education, there is a lack of deep understanding of their educational process and outcomes. Especially due to an inherent trait of clinical clerkships which requires participation in the workplace outside the classroom, it is difficult to fully comprehend their educational potential using traditional learning perspectives such as imbibing outside knowledge. Accordingly, this study aims to explore the experiences of a rotation-based clerkship of medical school students from the perspective of social constructivism of learning, which can empirically examine what and how medical students learn during clinical clerkship in South Korea. By providing an insight into the workings of the clerkship process, this study contributes to a better understanding of how a learning-friendly environment can be cultivated at clinical clerkships. Methods: The study utilized a basic qualitative study to understand what and how medical students learn during their clinical clerkships. Semi-structured, in-depth individual interviews were conducted with eight sixth-graders who had experienced a two-year clerkship at Ajou University Medical School. Data were analyzed based on Lave and Wenger’s situated learning theory and Wenger’s social theory in learning. Results: We found that the medical students had developed different aspects of their professional identities such as values, functionality, career decisions, sociality, and situating during their clinical clerkships. Further, professional identity was formed through a combination of participation and reification—the processes involved in the negotiation of meaning. This combination was facilitated by the students’ first experience and relationships with professors, classmates, and patients. Finally, non-learning occurred in the context of over-participation (learning anxiety and alienation) or over-reification (evaluation and e-portfolio). Conclusions: This study revealed five sub-professional identities and their formation process from the learners’ perspective, thereby uncovering the unique learning characteristics and advantages of rotated-based clerkship and contributing to a further understanding of how gradual improvements can be made to the traditional clerkship education of medical students.


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Journal Papers > School of Medicine / Graduate School of Medicine > Office of Medical Education
Journal Papers > School of Medicine / Graduate School of Medicine > Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
Ajou Authors
유, 지혜  |  이, 장훈  |  정, 현주
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