Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Preparing medical students for self-directed learning in statistics

Preparing Medical Students for Self-Directed Learning in Statistics: What Should we Expect of Tomorrow's Doctors

Principal Applicant : Margaret MacDougall


In the case of professional degree programmes, course designers may be largely informed by regulatory bodies as to what students require to know to be competent practitioners without a due sense of what graduates discover they need to know and which particular skills they find to be lacking on taking up employment.

This action-based research project aims to define a statistics curriculum for undergraduate medical students which is informed by the experiences of practising physicians from a wide range of specialities and by the learning experiences of undergraduate medical students at Edinburgh.

Using a variety of feedback mechanisms, this will involve input from staff and students in the design of agreed learning outcomes in statistics for undergraduate medical students. Whilst these learning outcomes will be designed to meet a local need at Edinburgh in the first instance, their development will also be used to drive plans to meet a national deficit in statistical learning outcomes across UK medical Schools. Staff and students will also collaborate to improve the content and presentation of statistical e-Learning resources designed to meet these learning outcomes.

The use of these resources will in turn be fully integrated with clinical learning within the undergraduate medical curriculum at Edinburgh. This innovation will be used as an opportunity to address concerns about lack of preparedness of senior medical students at Edinburgh for self-directed learning statistics.

Final report

The Final Report for this project may be downloaded below:

Other Project Outcomes

  • Presentation at the 8th International Conference on Teaching Statistics [July 2010, Slevenia]
  • Presentation at Annual Meeting for Teachers of Medical Statistics (“Burwalls”) [2013, Oxford, England]