ABSTRACT: Profiling undergraduates’ generic learning skills on entry to medical school; an international study.
Medical education faces challenges posed by widening access to training, a demand for globally competent healthcare workers and progress towards harmonisation of standards.
To explore potential challenges arising from variation in diversity and educational background of medical school entrants.
This study investigated the reported experience and confidence, in a range of 31 generic skills underpinning learning, of 2606 medical undergraduates entering 14 medical schools in England and South Africa, using a validated questionnaire.
Responses suggest that there is considerable similarity in prior educational experience and confidence skills profiles on entry to South African and English medical schools. South African entrants reported significantly more experience in ‘Technical skills’, ‘Managing their own Learning’, and ‘Presentation’, while English students reported increased experience in ‘IT’ skills. South African undergraduates reported more confidence in ‘Information Handling’, while English students were more confident in ‘IT’ skills. The most noticeable difference, in ‘IT’ skills, is probably due to documented differences in access to computer facilities at high school level. Differences between individual schools within each country are noticeable.
Educators need to acquire a good understanding of their incoming cohorts, and ensure necessary tailored support for skills development