Journal Club based learning

Journal Club based learning

Students are assigned research/review articles that match the content of specific course sessions. They are entitled to present their article, identify strong and weak points, propose future perpectives and place it in the scientific context of the course and current knowledge. Students attending the course are invited to discuss the paper and provide arguments in favour or against.

Journal Club based learning

Resources produced as a result of a project: Escapade

Group size : Small group (4-5 persons), Group (10-15 persons), Classroom (20-30 persons)

Modality : Presential, Hybrid, Distancial

Duration of the teaching method : In a session, Over several sessions

Type of knowledge developed : Knowledge, Social skills

Target Audience : Students, Professionals in training

Course Type : Course

Preparation time :½ organization day

Author and persons who made changes : Maria Pappas and George Broufas

Why am I using this technique?

For my learners...

This method promotes studying and learning independence in the case of assignments to individual students but also enhances group cohesion when more than one student takes over one subject or during discussions. The students will be trained in assessing literature, critical thinking, discussing science, presentation in public and in writing scientific reports.

For me, teacher or trainer...

This course is challenging not only for the students but for the teachers as well. It requires a careful preparation of the subjects to be assigned to different students or groups of students. The subjects should cover the course content as fully as possible, so that the students will learn by studying for their own assignment but also by attending their classmates presentations and participating to discussions. On the other hand, the same subjects could be used during the next year, although a fine-tuning to most recent developments on each subject should be regularly performed.

Framework and steps / Instructions

The framework

This method is particularly useful for specialization courses.

The preparation

No special equipment needed (just a computer and projector).

The process

It entails a first meeting with the students to assess their background and expectations from the course. Then, study groups should be formed and subjects assigned to the groups and/or individual students. The teacher should be aware of the relevant literature on each particular subject so that to guide the students towards fundamental knowledge but also recent developments. Furthermore, this method includes the evaluation of the performance of the students at the scientific but also soft skills level.


At the end of the course, the teacher develops and distributes a questionnaire to the students to receive feedback for the benefits/drawbacks of the method.


This method could be applied by substituting oral presentations with written reports (especially for large audiences).

Points of vigilance

Subjects should be assigned well-in advance so that the students have enough time to prepare. Furthermore, care should be taken that the class is aware of the different assignments in order to ensure active participation in the discussions.

What if it doesn't work?

Differential expression of interest or willingness among student to participate to the discussions may be a common problem with this method. Rewarding participation and/or best performance may increase students’ interest.

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