The learning environment in remediation: a review

Jennifer Cleland, Francois Cilliers, Susan van Schalkwyk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: The focus of this concise article is how best to support students to achieve success at medical school. Our aim is not to provide a guide to remediating under-performance in medical students. This, in our view, implies an approach that fundamentally is about quick fixes for addressing individual student deficits, such as intensive coaching of clinical skills to help a student scrape through a resit examination. Instead, we believe that student success is not solely the result of individual factors but rather relies on a complex range of factors, including the provision of a supportive environment.

METHODS: We drew on our knowledge of a wide range of literature related to remediation and other medical education structures and functions. Our aim was to take a different perspective on the different dimensions of 'remediation' - the structural, curricular, ideological and individual - to consider how best to provide a supportive environment for all learners to progress towards the required outcomes.

CONCLUSION: Medical students are becoming increasingly diverse and medical curricula must create learning environments that support all students to thrive. Effective remediation should not be about intensive 'teaching to test' after examination failure. Rather, both the context and the individual have a role to play in ensuring the selection, teaching, assessment and feedback practices support the learning journeys of individuals. We provide guidance for faculty member development and engaging with students to help achieve this goal. Effective remediation should not be about intensive 'teaching to test' after examination failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalThe Clinical Teacher
Issue number1
Early online date20 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Review


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