Educational Theory for Surgical Training

Subject MEDS90008 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

February, Hawthorn - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 09-Feb-2015 to 08-May-2015
Assessment Period End 29-May-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 26-Feb-2015
Census Date 06-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 24-Apr-2015

Semester 2, Hawthorn - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

The program is delivered part-time, with students expected to enrol in 2 subjects each semester. However, it is possible to undertake just one subject per semester. All subjects (with the exception of the Minor Thesis) will be taught using multiple delivery modes. This will include one full day (8 hours) workshop plus self-paced learning activities (e.g. webinars, moderated interactive discussions, and tutorials) spread over 13-week semesters. The self-paced learning activities will be accessed through an online learning management system. Students should expect to commit approximately 8 - 10 hours per week to each subject. This includes formal learning activities, reading and private study.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 8 hours (Intensive delivery)
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours per 12.5 credit point subject.


To enrol in this subject, you must be admitted in GC-SURGED, GD-SURGED or MC-SURGED. This subject is not available for students admitted in any other courses.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Overview, Objectives and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


School of Melbourne Custom Programs

Award Programs Team

Program Coordinator - Gemma Hughes

Phone - +61 3 9810 3253


Subject Overview:

This subject introduces participants to education theory and its application in medical and surgical training. Participants will gain a broad appreciation of the ‘educational landscape’ with an opportunity to pursue one theory in detail. Both teacher and learner perspectives will be explored and participants will critically reflect on their experiences from both perspectives. The subject is intentionally theoretical as it provides essential grounding for all subsequent subjects in which there will be opportunities to apply theory to practice.

The overall aims of this subject are:

  • To provide participants with a working knowledge of key contemporary education theory including teacher and learner perspectives
  • To consider the application of these theories in surgical education
Learning Outcomes:

After completing the subject participants will be able to:

  • Define commonly used terms in education literature
  • Demonstrate knowledge of contemporary education theories

Egs. Contextualised or situated learning; Experiential learning; Expertise; Zone of proximal development; Scaffolding; Affective elements of learning; Reflective practice; Automaticity; Andragogy, etc

  • Demonstrate knowledge of approaches to learning styles

Egs. Honey and Mumford, Multiple intelligences, VARK etc

  • Discuss the relevance of selected theories to medical and surgical education
  • Reflect on their own teaching practice in relation to selected educational theories

• Online activity – (mid semester) Hurdle assessment. Students review two teaching scenarios (audiovisual) and discuss relevant educational theory.

• Oral presentation - 15 minutes (mid semester) 30%. The aim of this assessment is for students to present and apply an educational theory to surgical education.

• Reflective writing (Hurdle assessment) 1500 words (mid semester), Students are expected to reflect on an educational theory reported in the oral presentation tutorials. They must choose a theory other than the one they present (above) or adopt in the essay (below) and are to reflect on their own practices in relation to the theory.

• Essay - 3500 word (end semester) 70% (The aim of this assessment is for students to explore in some depth a key issue in contemporary surgical education (choice of three essay topics), to use resources for supporting their arguments and to practise writing skills in a scholarly activity).

Prescribed Texts:

Illeris, K (Ed.) 2009, Contemporary Theories of Learning. Routledge: Oxon

Reading materials online

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Understand and be able to apply common contemporary educational theories
  • Study skills related to a range of educational methods – e.g. online learning
  • Presentation skills
  • Academic reading skills
  • Academic writing
  • Applying theory to practice
  • Reference manager skills
  • Work effectively within a small group
  • Learn independently
  • Critical reflection of own practice
Links to further information:

IT requirements:
Participants will require access to the internet with a minimum connection speed of 256Kbps to access course materials and to participate in on-line discussions and presentations forums. Faster connection speeds are preferred. Participants will also need to verify that their internet connection is configured to allow them to view streamed audio and video files. Test files will be made available for students to test their connections.

Participants are expected to have a headset and microphone connected to their computer for participation in on-line activities.

Participants will be expected to have access to the following Microsoft Office products to fully participate:

  • MS Word
  • MS Powerpoint

All online applications will be web-based and no special software is required.

Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Surgical Education
Graduate Diploma in Surgical Education
Master of Surgical Education

Download PDF version.