The last decade has seen a significant change in medical education and the way in which clinical teachers practice.
Andragogy refers to the methods and principles applicable in adult education. An understanding of how adults learn has resulted in significant changes in approaches to curriculum design, delivery and assessment; the object being to make teaching more effective.
An understanding of how adults learn has implications for how you should teach, irrespective of whether you have to deliver lectures, lead small group discussions, teach on ward rounds, instruct in practical skills, or tutor on a one-to-one basis.
Learning is a constructive process in which an individual learner acquires new information to build on existing knowledge. The cognitive structures that the learner builds on are influenced by the structure and organisation of the information received.
Learners should be guided to reflect upon new knowledge in order to assimilate it and gain deeper learning from it.
This will encourage a move away from surface learning, signified by a recall of factual information and poor knowledge retention, to deep learning that involves processing of information and critical thinking, both of which are essential for lifelong learning.