Teaching and Learning

This page has been created for GP supervisors at any stage of their career to give an overview of different teaching and learning approaches, as well as links to key resources.
Discover GPSA’s top three tips to effective teaching and learning in this 90 second video.

Top Three Tips

1. Focus on skills not knowledge
2. Tap into unknowns
3. Move beyond the clinical

Learning : supporting your registrar to plan their learning


Helping Your Registrar Plan Their Learning in General Practice

This guide has been developed to support the GP supervisor to help their registrar plan their learning. It should be read in conjunction with the GPSA ‘Practice-based Teaching in General Practice’ guide.

“What do I teach?”

When one considers the vast breadth of general practice content, it is a daunting prospect for the GP registrar to consider ‘What do I need to learn?’ (and for the GP Supervisor, ‘What do I need to teach?’). Each registrar undertaking GP training comes with a completely different clinical and educational background, and consequently no two registrars have the same learning needs. While learning is ultimately the responsibility of the registrar, the GP Supervisor has an important role to play in helping the registrar identify, clarify, prioritise and address their learning needs for general practice training.

Learning needs identification is the process of using tools and methods to identify the learning needs of the registrar, both known and unknown. It is commonly observed that identified registrar learning needs are primarily (or exclusively) clinical, and the other domains of practice are not considered, or overlooked. These include areas such as professionalism, communication skills, and organisational skills. GPSA resources seek to cover all aspects of learning and the identification of learning needs in registrars.

Top Tips:

  • Consider using tools for learning needs identification as you would use tests
    in clinical practice – for screening or diagnosing
  • Differentiate registrar learning needs intoknowledge, skills and attitudes.
  • Discuss the critical role of self-reflection
  • Consider ‘perceived’ versus ‘true’ learning needs, and the unknown unknowns.
  • Use a framework for assessing learning needs like the 4R tool (see resource link below).


Planning Learning FAQ

This document provides an overview of different models of learning and approaches to plan learning for your registrar.

4R Learning Needs Self Assessment

A tool for GP registrars to assist in exploring and identifying learning needs

Teaching : in a General Practice setting


“How do I teach it?”

Teaching in a general practice setting as part of vocational training comprises two distinct but overlapping approaches – ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ teaching.

Informal teaching (also known as corridor or ad hoc teaching) is usually brief, unplanned, and opportunistic, and occurs in response to the registrar seeking assistance during the patient encounter.

Formal teaching is the dedicated, quarantined, structured form of teaching. There are a wide range of possible teaching methods that the GP supervisor can employ as part of practice-based teaching. Ideally, supervisors should use a diversity of methods to make the teaching experience engaging and rewarding. The specific method should be matched to the content and registrar learning needs. Feedback is at the heart of effective teaching and clinical supervision.

Top Tips:

  • Employ a variety of different approaches to teaching to cover topics identified in the registrars learning plan, including formal teaching, informal teaching, random case analysis and prescribing reviews
  • Make the most of informal teaching moments by having registrars explain their reasoning process, to identify gaps in their reasoning approach
  • Provide feedback that is constructive and meaningful, bearing in mind the different learning approach that works best for your particular registrar


Practice based teaching in general practice

This guide fills the need for a comprehensive resource for GP supervisors to guide the formal aspects of their supervision.

Random Case Analysis Guide

This guide provides GP supervisors with an explanation of how to incorporate random case analysis (RCA) tools into their supervision toolkit.

Teaching clinical reasoning guide

This guide aims to support GP supervisors to assess, and facilitate development of, their GP registrar’s clinical reasoning skills

Giving effective feedback guide

This guide explains how to implement strategies that will make providing feedback a meaningful and constructive experience for you both.


Template: Random Case Analysis

Identify and support what the GP registrar knows, and does not know, in a manner that is consistent and non-threatening.

Teaching tool: Doctor Talk Flash Cards

A great communication resource available to run through with your GP registrar as an in-practice teaching session. Pick one of 50 cards and discuss consultation issues with your registrar.

Teaching tool: Shades of Grey –  Ethical Dilemmas Flash Cards

The Ethical Dilemma flash cards are a great resource available to run through with your registrar as an in-practice teaching session.