The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Dynamics of Piaget’s Cognitive Learning Approach and Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory in Different Stages of Medical and Allied Health Education

Ferissa Ablola, University of the Philippines Open University, Philippines (Philippines)

Sally Gutierez, University of the Philippines Open University (Philippines)


Learning theories are frameworks that describe how knowledge is received and processed during the learning experience. The application of learning theories in education is said to be dynamic and becomes more complex with increasing educational level. A certain theory is best fit with a particular learning outcome and audience profile. This systematic review aims to describe the possible shift from integration of cognitive learning theory to employment of socio-cultural approach in medical and health allied education over the years among students, educators and the learning institution following the PRISMA guidelines. A total of six articles were included in this review, and most document reviews and qualitative research. There were at least six distinct learning theories described in the articles which were integrated during the pre-medical years and internship/ clerkship in medical education. Multiple learning theories work together in medical education. Healthcare education is usually divided into stages of learning, the first few years are allotted for knowledge development and the succeeding years are for application of these acquired fundamental information. For each education stage, a different learning theory might be applicable to suffice the progressing complexity of instructions or change in learning environment. Cognitive, psychodynamic and humanistic theories give emphasis on internal psychological factors of learning process which are commonly employed in on the initial courses of the medical/ allied health curriculum. While behaviorist and social learning theories are focused on external factors in the environment that promote learning such as interaction and community immersion. The learning theories advanced by Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky were observed in two different levels of medical education. The principles of the cognitivism and sociocultural learning are widely used to devise various learning instructions and create more informed decisions about identifying the appropriate educational practices to benefit the students, educators as well as the learning institution.



Keywords: learning theory, cognitive, sociocultural, medical education




Abdullah Omer, A. A. (2020). The Importance of Theory to Inform Practice – Theorizing the Current Trends of Clinical Teaching: A Narrative Review. Sudan Journal of Medical Sciences (SJMS), 15(4), 383– 398.

Tewary, S., Jordan, J. A., Rana, A. M., & Mayi, B. (2020). Academic Advising Using Theoretical Approaches for Medical Students Who Are Struggling in Preclinical Years. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 120(4), 228–235.

Horsburgh, J., Ippolito, K. (2018). A skill to be worked at: using social learning theory to explore the process of learning from role models in clinical settings. BMC Med Educ 18, 156 (2018).

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