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What does hands-on sessions add to conventional learning?

Dr. Silvia Gianstefani, Consultant Cardiologist Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, London, UK



How important is it for a young fellow to participate in practical workshops and hands-on sessions and what does it add to conventional learing?

“I think it is extremely important. Workshops and hands-on sessions add a lot to conventional learning and are fundamental ways of crystallizing the theory learnt with formal teaching. Simulations and discussion of clinical cases make complex concepts practical and easy to understand.

Of course, lectures are necessary to transmit information and knowledge to a large audience; however multiple studies have shown that people are more attentive when participating in a workshop and that the degree   of information retention is higher through hands-on work.

The audience in a workshop is actively engaged in tasks which require applying their basic knowledge and is kept interested by a constant interaction. The communication with the tutor is facilitated, as asking questions in a smaller and informal group is less embarrassing than intervening at the end of a plenary session in a conference.

Workshops led by experienced instructors and hands-on sessions play a very important role in busy training programs where “one-to-one teaching” with an expert in a specific procedure or topic may be lacking due to time constrains or service provision needs.


Moreover interacting with the tutor allows people to calibrate themselves which may result in a reduction of the dis-concordance between operators.”