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Over the years, many medical school curricula have started implementing diverse student-centred teaching and learning methodologies. Previous studies, however, have indicated that students prefer more traditional and directive methodologies instead, raising questions on which training approach should be advocated. This study contrasts the effects of a student-centred (i.e. facilitative) training approach on students’ clinical skills learning with students’ perceptions. More specifically, a quasi-experimental study was set up in which students experienced either a directive or facilitative training approach. Data were collected by means of an OSCE on the one hand, and a questionnaire on students’ perceptions of the training sessions, and two open-ended questions about students’ likes and dislikes on the other hand. While no general differences were found in terms of clinical knowledge and understanding, and actual clinical performance, an interaction between students’ course-specific prior knowledge and the training approach was found. Especially students with low levels of knowledge benefited more from the facilitative training approach in terms of clinical knowledge, while highly knowledgeable students experienced a negative effect of this training approach. Moreover, students’ perceptions revealed that facilitative-trained students reported more deep-level learning, while the directive training approach turned out to score higher in terms of quality and perceived effects.
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