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Learning to interact and interacting to learn: a substantive theory of clinical workplace learning for diverse cohorts

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 05:49 authored by King, E, Turpin, M, Wendy GreenWendy Green, Schull, D
Social interactions are integral to clinical workplace functioning and are recognised to play an important role in clinical workplace learning. How, why and to what end students, in the context of today’s culturally and linguistically diverse cohorts, interact with members of clinical workplace communities during clinical workplace learning is not well understood. The aim of this research was to generate a theoretical understanding of students’ interactive processes in clinical workplace learning that accounted for high levels of cultural/linguistic diversity. In accordance with constructivist grounded theory methods, data collection and analysis were premised on theoretical sampling and constant comparative analysis, and undertaken from an informed and refexive stance. This involved iterations of survey, interview and diary data from two diverse cohorts of fnal year veterinary students who had undergone 11 months of clinical workplace learning. Clinical preceptors were also interviewed. As an aid to theory building, testing and refnement, and in order to test the theory’s relevance, usefulness and transferability beyond veterinary clinical education, critical feedback was sought from medical and allied health educators. Our substantive level theory demonstrates that upon entering the clinical workplace community, students learn how to ‘harness dialogue’ in order to efectively coordinate three, inter-related interactive processes: (i) functioning in the workplace, (ii) impression management and (iii) learningin-the-moment. We found both positive and negative consequences ensued, depending on how students harnessed dialogue. The theory responds to a perceived need in international student education to move away from a defcit discourse by developing educational theory which focuses on the nature of participation, rather than the nature of the student.


Publication title

Advances in Health Sciences Education










Faculty of Education



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Copyright 2019 Springer Nature B.V.

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Learner and learning not elsewhere classified; Policies and development; Pedagogy