Promoting knowledge and understanding in society

Darrell J.R. Evans (Department of Anatomy, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Publication date: 22 April 2011



The ability to communicate with society is one of the key skills by which our students can help enhance knowledge and understanding of different subjects within the general population. Unfortunately, up until recently few subject areas have provided tailored training for their students in the art of communicating with different audiences, especially a non‐specialist one. This review paper aims to discuss the rationale for incorporating defined communication skills training (CST) into higher education courses, focusing on medicine, other healthcare professions and science. In addition the review aims to identify example methodologies used for the training and assessment of communication skills.


The approach taken for this review has been to: identify and review national, subject specific and individual drivers for why higher education should be including CST in their courses and programmes; evaluate some of the published approaches and innovations used to introduce CST into higher education courses; and finally, assess the factors that curriculum designers should consider when incorporating CST into their programmes or modules.


The review shows that there are a number of important drivers for including CST in higher education curricula, especially training which is directed to communicating with non‐specialist audiences. The paper identifies a number of varied approaches for integrating training into existing and emerging HE courses and modules, aimed at developing both oral and written communication skills.


The paper demonstrates the need for CST in undergraduate courses and acts as a challenge to others to devise strategies to ensure their students are ready and able to communicate with society in the twenty‐first century.



Evans, D. (2011), "Promoting knowledge and understanding in society", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 35-46.

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