Practice-based video clubs: a novel approach to clinical supervisor development.

Project Details

We, like many researchers have been struggling to understand what would constitute ‘good’ professional development (PD) for clinical supervisors.  Research in medical education and broader education suggests an over-reliance on once-off delivery of face-to-face workshops or lectures that are likely to have minimal impact on the subsequent practice of participants. This evidence compels us to trial different forms of PD, in particular, pedagogical designs that put participants’ own practice at the centre. Not only is there a need to try new ways of ‘doing PD’ but there is a responsibility to be overt about how we arrived at these novel educational designs, and what would constitute impact or success.

To meet this need, in the context of General Practice (GP) Clinical Supervisor PD, we used a case study evaluation to investigate a novel approach to professional development, ‘the video club.’ The video club has been utilised successfully in the domain of education, described as a forum where groups of educators meet together at periodic intervals to watch and discuss video-recordings of their own teaching. Many features of these video-clubs reflect the tenants of effective PD in medical education; for example, educators working with each other in a community of inquiry to address authentic issues or struggles that arise from their own workplace. There is also the feature of iteration (video club events held over time), so that participants build their understanding, and have a chance to experiment with new teaching strategies in the workplace, and report back on the perceived effects.

In our GP supervisor video club intervention, one online and one face-to-face group of GP-supervisors met for 60 minutes, once a month for six weeks to discuss video-recordings of the protected teaching sessions they run for GP-registrars. In developing the video club, we aimed to activate professional learning in clinical teachers through participants’ exposure of their teaching practice, providing a platform for critical reflection of self and others, with the help of a facilitator to help participants to make links between theory and practice. Our findings suggest that video clubs have the potential to develop clinical supervisors as educators and have the potential to support more productive workplace learning encounters. Despite the promising findings in this case study, we anticipate there are some key obstacles that may prohibit scaling out in general practice or may challenge wider adoption in the health professions. Namely, as our participants themselves pointed out, the process can ‘feel uncomfortable’. Learning about ‘teaching and learning’ through observing others’ real practice requires a culture shift - one where teaching practice is de-privatised.  The pedagogy demands that participants show vulnerability, or ‘expose their underbelly’ for the sake of their own learning and the learning of others, and this is always met by the chance or risk or loss; whether it be loss of credibility, or loss of ‘teaching frames’ or schemas that were previously viewed as water-tight.

The promising findings from a postgraduate general practice context provide a launching pad for a number of related research and evaluation possibilities. The findings in that context warrant a larger study to more fully investigate the impact of video clubs on GP-supervisors’ teaching practices and GP-registrars’ learning. We think that, given the unfamiliar and potentially challenging nature of the intervention, that trialling its feasibility in other uni-professional contexts and/or undergraduate courses is worthwhile (e.g., with nurse educators). We also think that trialling video clubs with clinical educators from multiple professions, where they can explore each other’s teaching and learning practices in an interprofessional context offers rich possibilities. And we are interested in the possibility of examining the conditions whereby video clubs can become self-sustaining with participants taking on and sharing the role of facilitating the group themselves.


Dr Tim Clement
Professor Elizabeth Molloy


Dr Duncan Howard
Dr Eldon Lyon
Professor Jonathan Silverman


Howard D, Clement T, Silverman J, Molloy E, Lyon E. (2018-2019) “Video-clubs as a professional development activity for GP-supervisors: how do they support supervisors' teaching practice?” Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine Education Research Grant $149,924.

Research Outcomes

Clement, T., Howard, D., Lyon, E., Silverman, J., & Molloy, E. (2020). Video-triggered professional learning for general practice trainers: Using the ‘cauldron of practice’ to explore teaching and learning. Education for Primary Care, 31(2), 112-118. doi:10.1080/14739879.2019.1703560

Research Group

Work integrated learning

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Medical Education

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