Evidence-based clinical skills teaching and learning: What do we really know?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The recent programmatic focus on skills development in veterinary medicine means that many programs are devoting increased time to formal clinical skills teaching. This expansion makes it essential that we use the time as effectively as possible. This review examines current practices and veterinary training principles using the broader field of evidence-based motor skills learning as a lens. In many areas, current practices may be hindering learning. Proposed practices include using videos and discussions for pre-laboratory training, focusing on a single complex skill at a time, using more near-peer instructors rather than faculty, including assessments in each teaching or practice session, and encouraging supervised distributed practice by incorporating practice sessions into the formal curriculum. Ensuring mastery of a few core skills rather than exposure to many may be the new goal. Further research is urgently needed on block versus spiral curricula, optimum instructor-to-student ratios, learning and practice schedules, hours required for proficiency, and the benefits of exercise on motor skills learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-398
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of veterinary medical education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 AAVMC.


  • Clinical skills teaching
  • Deliberate practice
  • Distributed practice
  • Motor skills learning
  • Near-peer teaching
  • Retrograde inhibition
  • Skills retention


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