The applicability of Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory in learning during internship

  • Isaacs, Anton (Primary Chief Investigator (PCI))
  • Spencer, Bernadette A. (Associate Investigator (AI))

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

Wellbeing of junior doctors is an important topic of concern owing to the increasing rates of emotional exhaustion, burnout, and depression among them. Bullying of junior doctors is also known to be common in the workplace and very few report on it due to factors such as fear of reprisals and impact on one’s career.

A Good learning climate has been shown to be important for a junior doctor’s work related well-being. When asked about their training program, junior doctors highlight the importance of teaching and learning as well as the importance of a positive learning environment. Previous research suggests that the learning environment is enhanced when they feel valued and supported by the team, but is damaged when they do not feel supported and have little time with patients and seniors.
Good supervision is necessary for learning and must include creating pleasant learning environments where junior doctors can learn and function independently. However, types of supervision vary widely and there are no clear standards for supervisors or on what is expected of those who are supervised.

Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory states that knowledge is co-constructed between two or more people through social interactions; human development occurs through the cultural transmission of tools such as language and symbols; language is the most critical tool and develops from social, private and covert speech; and interactions with ‘more knowledgeable others’ in the ‘zone of proximal development’ promote cognitive development.

In this study, we will interview junior doctors about their learning experiences during internship and explore the applicability of Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory to their learning processes. If this study shows that interns learn best within a socially conducive environment and that poor quality supervision adversely affects their learning and wellbeing, it makes a case for training of hospital consultants in better supervision techniques.
Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/20