During their internships, Skin Therapy and Nursing students find that vocational education at universities of applied sciences does not prepare them adequately for practice. The practical trainers from the care institutions also give similar feedback. If we analyse healthcare education, we can understand these concerns. Prospective care workers are trained more as protocol followers than as sharp, thoughtful care providers. This must and can be done differently.

That is why research into motoric learning has been initiated, so that new education can be designed to better prepare students for the real-world practice. Common feedback from students at present is that education (isolated practice) and practice (using many skills at the same time) differ too much from each other. At the same time, practical trainers find that students have difficulty in recognising signals from patients (both clinically as well as in communication), in following up signals adequately and in sharing important information with other care providers.

Learning a new professional attitude

Caregivers must be able to cope with a new situation, with new characteristics. If care education can help create this professional attitude, then aspiring care professionals will be better able to match care to the patient's situation and needs, improve coordination with other care professionals and provide high-quality care.


In this Senior Comenius project, subsidised by NRO, new education is designed based on the insights of recent decades in the scientific literature on motoric learning. With didactics based on the constrained-led approach method (Davids, Button, & Bennett, 2008), the learning environment is continuously manipulated (adjustments in constraints), so that students learn to adapt functionally to ever-changing circumstances. No two situations are the same.


This project runs until 31 January 2024.


This is a collaboration between the Nursing, Skin Therapy degree programmes and the Relational Care research group. Via the Comenius network, results are shared with other educational institutions in the country.

Additional information

Additional information on this research can be found on the National Taskforce for Educational Research’s website.


  • Peter Renden (Research group Relational Care), P.G.Renden@hhs.nl
  • Loes Verdoes (Research group Relational Care)
  • Natasja van Lobenstein (Research group Relational Care)
  • Jeroen Dikken (Research group Urban Ageing)