Values of Clinical Observational Learning in Work-Integrated Learning in Health Sciences Education: Students' Views and Experiences

Darren Carpenter, Zijing Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Students' competency is a critical concern in health sciences education. Therefore, work-integrated learning has become an integral part of health sciences programmes at higher education institutions. This study explored students' views and experiences of clinical observational learning to promote work-integrated learning in the acupuncture programme at a South African university. The authors used the Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge (TPACK) model as a theoretical lens to guide this study, involving five participants who were purposively selected. A qualitative descriptive single case study design was employed within an interpretivist paradigm. Five participants were recruited for this study. The authors employed semi-structured interviews as the data collection instrument. The data were analysed using the six-step thematic analysis. The findings revealed that students agreed that clinical observational learning significantly improved clinical competency. They reported that clinical observational learning assisted them in memorising content knowledge and obtaining practical experience. Furthermore, participants highlighted that a lack of space, insufficient time, and incompetency of observed student practitioners negatively affected their learning experience. This study concluded that higher education institutions should employ clinical observational learning in the curriculum to assist in transitioning students from theoretical knowledge to clinical practice. It is recommended that further research must be conducted at national and international higher education institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-567
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • clinical observational learning
  • higher education
  • student competence
  • work-integrated learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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