Buhle Donda

Mrs Buhle Donda


Mrs Buhle Sithole Donda


+27 (0)31 260 4753





Developmental Lecturer

Research Topic : Clinical Reasoning

Supervisors: Professor Richard Hift and Dr Veena Singaram

Ms Donda has a BA (Honours) Degree from the University of Zululand, a Masters in Education and is currently enrolled for a PhD in Medical Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Ms Donda has worked as a Tutor and academic at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Whilst studying towards her Masters in Education in the continuing teacher professional development discipline (CPTD), she was a Leap Mellon scholar. She was also part of the NRF project called “every voice counts”, where she came across the concept of “engaged pedagogy” (Hooks, 1995). Engaged pedagogy emphasises the need of understanding your students in a way that accommodate them and the challenges they face.

While completing her Masters, she was employed as a Research Assistant in the Dept of Medicine. Here she was inducted into medical education, clinical education in particular. She developed an understanding of strong vs. weak, appropriate and inappropriate cognitive skills behaviours underlying clinical success and failure.

She began from the viewpoint of transfer theory through the searching of literature in transfer theory which broadened her understanding on how medical students in the clinical years learn and improve their clinical reasoning skills. This literature further exposed her to cognitive load theory and cognitive schema theory and the relevance of these theories to medical education. This experience intensified her interest in understanding how medical students acquire their reasoning skills. She attended an international conference in medical education AMEE in Glasgow in 2010 and has been in the department of medicine for two years. She is familiar with the “areas in the clinical setting of interest to me”. Such exposure has created an interest in understanding student clinical reasoning in details. She is currently registered for a PhD in medical education.

Her PhD investigates cognitive processes underlying schema formation in undergraduates. Cognitive skills of good and weak students will be compared so as to understand cognitive processes responsible for correct diagnosis. The study will use the propositional research as a research methodology. Propositional analysis uses qualitative method like protocol analysis. Hence, the portfolio interview will be investigated in order to establish whether it does assess these cognitive skills and whether it assists in developing such skills in undergraduates. Data will be analysed quantitatively.

Ms Donda is a MEPI scholar.