A Qualitative Exploration of Multiple Perspectives on Transfer of Learning Between Classroom and Clinical Workplace

Sanne Peters*, Geraldine Clarebout, Marc van Nuland, Bert Aertgeerts, Ann Roex

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Phenomenon: Transfer of learning between classroom and workplace appears to be difficult. Various conceptions about learning in either the classroom or the workplace exist among stakeholders, yet little is known about their conceptions of the transfer of learning between both settings. This study explored stakeholders' conceptions about transfer of learning between classroom-based learning and workplace practice. Approach: Homogeneous focus groups with students, medical teachers, and workplace supervisors were conducted using a constructivist grounded theory approach. Findings: The 54 participants' conceptions mainly related to their beliefs about who was responsible for (a) preparing for transfer of learning, (b) being at the workplace and connecting back to classroom-based learning, and (c) reflecting on transfer of learning and continuing the process. A continuum was recognized between those who held medical teachers/workplace supervisors responsible and those who held students responsible. Insights: There appears to be a variety of conceptions about who is responsible for enabling the transfer process. These conceptions may influence learning and instructional activities. Hence, it may be necessary to make these beliefs explicit in order to better align stakeholders' conceptions. To this end, the conceptual framework created in this study may be a useful tool.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-32
Number of pages11
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • transfer of learning
  • qualitative research
  • integration

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