Professional Identity Formation Through Experiential Learning in Premedical Education: A Qualitative Study

  • Rachid Bendriss
  • Reya Saliba


To introduce premedical students to the medical profession, a semester-long project was designed and implemented to promote experiential learning (EL) among native Arabic speaking students enrolled in an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course at a branch campus of an American medical college in Qatar. The project aimed at providing future medical students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to gain an understanding and appreciation of healthcare professions and to begin constructing a professional identity early.

Developed by Carl Rogers in the late 1960s, Experiential Learning (EL) theory is based on a social learning theory in which learners develop their experience and knowledge when they are involved in activities that stimulate their cognitive and affective domains of learning (Hedin, 2010). Kolb (Dunn, 2002) described the four stages of EL as follows:

  • concrete experience: students gain hands-on experience
  • observation and reflection: students get the chance to reflect on their experience
  • abstract conceptualization: students are able to draw conclusions from their learning experience
  • active experimentation: students get the chance to apply what they learned (see Fig. 1).