BACKGROUND: Students often perceive workplace-based learning as disconnected from what they learn in medical school. Interventions that deal with this issue regularly involve feedback and/or learning aids. Feedback has frequently been encouraged in previous research, whereas the use of aids is less understood.
OBJECTIVE: This study aims to investigate the added value of learning aids in making the connection and enhancing the transfer of learning between medical school and workplace-based learning.
METHODS: First-year students in postgraduate general practice training participated in a mixed-methods study. Within a quasi-experimental design, two conditions were investigated: (1) students having access to electronic health record (EHR)-embedded learning aids and feedback and (2) students only receiving feedback. Semistructured interviews were conducted and analyzed according to the thematic analysis approach.
RESULTS: Forty-four students participated in this study. No significant difference was found between the two conditions (t42=-0.511, P=.61, 95% CI -4.86 to 2.90). Nevertheless, students used the aids frequently and found them useful. Given that the aids were familiar to students and contained practice-based instructions in an easily accessible format, they were perceived as feasible to use during workplace-based learning. They also appeared to stimulate transfer of learning, self-confidence, reflection, and interaction between student and supervisor.
CONCLUSIONS: Access to EHR-embedded learning aids offers additional support during, but also before and after, patient encounters. The aids can be easily implemented into workplace-based learning.