Examining the disconnect between learning theories and educational practices in the PharmD programme at Qatar University : a case study

  • Banan Mukhalalati

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


research aims to examine evidence concerning the implementation of learningtheories in the QU PharmD programme, utilising a case study research approach.The research is divided into four stages, conducted under the umbrella of a social constructivist interpretative framework and the constructivist and social theories of learning. In the first stage, the perceptions of full-time students, faculty and preceptors in the QU PharmD programme were explored; these raised questions regarding the role of learning theory in the design and delivery of the programme. The second stage explored the extent to which the programme is based on learning theories by interviewing two programme designers, a pharmacy education scholar and an accreditation agency administrator. This stage proposed a disconnect between learning theories and educational practice in the QU PharmD programme, and suggested the need for investigating the implications of the proposed disconnect from a Communities of Practice (CoP) theory perspective. In the third stage, a novel CoP theory-informed framework was developed through an extensive review of the literature. In the fourth stage, the CoP framework was used as a theoretical instrument to analyse the evidence of CoP theory in the QU PharmD programme by conducting three focus groups and five interviews with key stakeholders, and by performing document analysis. The research suggests that the disconnect between CoP learning theory and the educational practices in the QU PharmD programme is at the “implicit disconnect” level, meaning that some elements of the CoP framework were implicitly evident. This implicit disconnect contributes to the challenges found in the programme. This study concludes with the creation of a case study-developed theory emphasising the importance of the full and explicit implementation of learning theory in educational practices. The theory calls for better integration of academic, practice, accreditation, and governmental sector efforts in professional healthcare educational reform initiatives.
Date of Award27 Jun 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAndrea Taylor (Supervisor), Marjorie Weiss (Supervisor), Michael Romanowski (Supervisor) & Kerry Wilbur (Supervisor)


  • Practical placements
  • Preceptors
  • Faculty liaisons
  • Communities of Practice
  • Learning theories
  • Case study methodology
  • Constructivism
  • Pharmacy postgraduate education
  • Qualitative methods

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