Academic Medicine

Skip Navigation LinksHome > November 2013 - Volume 88 - Issue 11 > The Practicality of Theory
Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182a66321
Commentaries

The Practicality of Theory

Kuper, Ayelet MD, DPhil; Whitehead, Cynthia MD, PhD

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Abstract

The study of medical education has broadened significantly over the past decade to include a wide variety of theoretical frameworks from multiple research domains. There remains a significant misconception, however, that learning theories (largely drawn from cognitive psychology and education) are practical and useful to educators, whereas other types of theory are not. The authors of this commentary reflect on a learning-theory-based model for developing master learners presented by Schumacher and colleagues in this issue of Academic Medicine. They suggest that bioscientific and sociocultural theories can enhance different aspects of that model and provide specific examples from neuropsychophysiology, Foucauldian discourse analysis, and critical theory. Bioscientific and sociocultural theories such as these present medical educators with an exciting array of new methodological and interpretive possibilities. The authors illustrate ways in which these theories can have important practical applications for, and impacts on, the practice of medical education.

© 2013 by the Association of American Medical Colleges

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