Using Gagne's theory to teach procedural skills

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SUMMARYBackground:Many key medical procedures are performed every day in clinical practice to yield important diagnostic information and to help determine the disease response to intensive treatments. Training clinicians to perform procedures competently and confidently thus carries considerable weight, helping to assure patient safety, the obtainment of adequate samples and minimising patient discomfort. This article considers how Robert Gagne's instructional design model may be effectively used to design lesson plans and teach procedural skills in small group settings.Context:Gagne's model is based upon the information-processing model of mental events that occur when adults are presented with various stimuli. It highlights nine specific instructional events, which correlate with crucial conditions of learning, and are arranged to maximally enhance the learning process, improve session flow and, ultimately, ensure lesson objectives are comprehensively addressed.Innovation:This article uses the nine points described by Gagne to outline a comprehensive lesson guide for teaching psychomotor skills, using a bone-marrow aspirate procedure as an example. Each of Gagne's instructional events is considered with specific activities for each, and with the variety of activities delineated to meet diverse learning styles.Implications:Gagne's instructional events can produce an effective and comprehensive lesson plan for teaching procedural skills, preparing learners with various preferred learning styles to perform psychomotor skills competently in clinical practice. This lesson plan can be of use for both teachers and students across clinical specialties, encouragingly outlining how Gagne's systematic and widely referenced theory can be creatively and practically used.

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