Bridging the theory-practice gap in pharmacy education using an authentic learning approach: A cross-sectional study


  • Clare Depasquale School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
  • Gwen Gray School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, United Kingdom



Learning, Patient safety, Pharmacy, Pharmacy education, Simulated-based learning, Theory-practice gap


Background: Authentic learning environments highlight real-world relevance to students, contributing to readiness for practice. This study evaluated the impact of an educational activity on student pharmacist learning and personal/professional development.

Methods: An activity similar to that used by practising pharmacy professionals to record errors during dispensing was included in simulated community pharmacy workshops delivered to Year-2 students as part of a Professional Practice Module. Students were instructed to complete entries when academic staff identified errors during final accuracy checks. Student evaluation surveys were analysed at the end of terms one and two of the academic year. Descriptive statistics were used for closed questions, and thematic analysis for open-ended responses.

Results: Of the 75 student pharmacists who completed both evaluation surveys, 64% (n=48) recorded fewer errors in term two. Respondents considered the exercise helpful in highlighting the need for more attention to detail and identifying negative trends in their dispensing process. A positive response to personal/professional development was noted, with student pharmacists commenting that the activity facilitated reflection.

Conclusion: This activity has allowed students to experience real-world working situations, extending their learning experience, facilitating personal/professional development, and encouraging best practices.


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How to Cite

Depasquale, C., & Gray, G. (2024). Bridging the theory-practice gap in pharmacy education using an authentic learning approach: A cross-sectional study. Pharmacy Education, 24(1), p. 262–269.



Research Article