Preparing to Teach Basic Science Courses

Basic Principles of Teaching & Learning


Adults learn differently than children (see “Principles of Adult Learning” module). For effective & sustainable learning to occur, adults require:
  1. Both internal and external motivation to learn.
  2. An overall & ongoing sense of purpose and specific goals to direct learning towards.
  3. Relevant prior learning to connect the new learning with.
  4. An emotionally & intellectually supportive learning environment.
  5. Practice using the knowledge/skills being learned.
  6. Opportunity to develop self-directed and life-long learning skills.
  7. Constructive & targeted feedback to guide improvement.
  8. Opportunity to self-assess & self-correct.
  9. A sense of partnership in the process, and ownership of the learning.


To teach adults effectively, there must be:
  1. Shaping of the curriculum delivery process based on learner characteristics & background.
  2. Alignment of the School of Medicine’s overall educational program goals, objectives and competencies with the course (general) and session (specific) objectives.
  3. Clearly stated learning & performance objectives and course requirements.
  4. Selection of the most essential information/skills to cover in a unit of instruction rather than trying to transmit all of the instructor’s learning to the student.
  5. A focus on facilitating the student’s own learning efforts, and accomplishing the stated objectives. This may require varying the teaching approaches depending on the objectives.
  6. Assessment of learning outcomes & reflection on ways to improve the process.

Learning Modules

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