The influence of a digital clinical reasoning test on medical student learning behavior during clinical clerkships

Larissa Ia Ruczynski*, Bas Jjw Schouwenberg, Eugène Custers, Cornelia R.M.G. Fluit, Marjolein Hj van de Pol

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Recently, a new digital clinical reasoning test (DCRT) was developed to evaluate students’ clinical-reasoning skills. Although an assessment tool may be soundly constructed, it may still prove inadequate in practice by failing to function as intended. Therefore, more insight is needed into the effects of the DCRT in practice. Individual semi-structured interviews and template analysis were used to collect and process qualitative data. The template, based on the interview guide, contained six themes: (1) DCRT itself, (2) test debriefing, (3) reflection, (4) practice/workplace, (5) DCRT versus practice and (6) ‘other’. Thirteen students were interviewed. The DCRT encourages students to engage more in formal education, self-study and workplace learning during their clerkships, particularly for those who received insufficient results. Although the faculty emphasizes the different purposes of the DCRT (assessment of/as/for learning), most students perceive the DCRT as an assessment of learning. This affects their motivation and the role they assign to it in their learning process. Although students appreciate the debriefing and reflection report for improvement, they struggle to fill the identified knowledge gaps due to the timing of receiving their results. Some students are supported by the DCRT in exhibiting lifelong learning behavior. This study has identified several ways in which the DCRT influences students’ learning practices in a way that can benefit their clinical-reasoning skills. Additionally, it stresses the importance of ensuring the alignment of theoretical principles with real-world practice, both in the development and utilization of assessment tools and their content. Further research is needed to investigate the long-term impact of the DCRT on young physicians’ working practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages13
    JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Oct 2023


    • Assessment
    • Clinical reasoning
    • Medical education
    • Undergraduate education


    Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of a digital clinical reasoning test on medical student learning behavior during clinical clerkships'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this