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01-06-2017 | Review Article | Uitgave 3/2017 Open Access

Perspectives on Medical Education 3/2017

Enhancing the connection between the classroom and the clinical workplace: A systematic review

Perspectives on Medical Education > Uitgave 3/2017
Sanne Peters, Geraldine Clarebout, Agnes Diemers, Nicolas Delvaux, An Verburgh, Bert Aertgeerts, Ann Roex
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi: 10.​1007/​s40037-017-0338-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Editor’s Note

Commentary by T. Wilkinson doi: 10.​1007/​s40037-017-0344-2



Although medical students are increasingly exposed to clinical experiences as part of their training, these often occur parallel with, rather than connected to, their classroom-based learning experiences. Additionally, students seem to struggle with spontaneously making the connection between these spheres of their training themselves. Therefore, this systematic review synthesized the existing evidence about educational interventions that aim to enhance the connection between learning in the classroom and its application in the workplace.


Electronic databases (AMED, CINAHL, EMBASE, ERIC, Medline, RDRB, PsycINFO and WoS) were screened for quantitative and qualitative studies investigating educational interventions that referenced a connection between the classroom and workplace-based experiences within undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate medical education.


Three types of interventions were identified: classroom to workplace interventions, workplace to classroom interventions, and interventions involving multiple connections between the two settings. Most interventions involved a tool (e. g. video, flow chart) or a specific process (e. g. linking patient cases with classroom-based learning content, reflecting on differences between what was learned and how it works in practice) which aimed to enhance the connection between the two settings.


Small-scale interventions can bring classroom learning and workplace practice into closer alignment. Such interventions appear to be the necessary accompaniments to curricular structures, helping bridge the gap between classroom learning and workplace experience. This paper documents examples that may serve to assist medical educators in connecting the classroom and the workplace.
Extra materiaal
Supplementary file 1: Search terms according to each database
Supplementary file 2: Characteristics of included studies: interventions
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