Director's Message: What would happen to education if we took education evidence seriously?
This provocative question is actually the title of a paper published last year by Cees van der Vleuten and Erik Driessen. In their paper
the authors suggest that educational practice and educational research are misaligned. Too much attention is focused on strategies for content delivery, which in reality is only a small part of the process of learning. If we realigned educational practice with what is known from cognitive sciences, organizational development and social learning theories, we would see multiple approaches to improving an educational system that has changed little from the eighteenth century. These approaches focus on six areas of research where evidence exists about how to facilitate learning.
Elaboration is the active processing of information by learners, and includes many possible strategies such as discussions to apply content to cases, creating summaries, tables and diagrams, restating information in one's own words, etc. In many cases, elaboration only takes place by learners individually, at the end of a course as they prepare for exams. There is compelling evidence that working with information enhances understanding and learning, and moves beyond strategies that focus solely on content transmission.
Cooperative Learning, that is learning with others, is more effective than learning individually. Learning with others is most productive when group members equitably participate and take responsibility for the group's learning. While there are some disadvantages to group learning, they are outweighed by the benefits. The team-based nature of health care delivery means that learning in cooperation with others will not only enhance learning but can also enhance the ability to work with others and participate in what has become a team-based profession.
Feedback is one of the most powerful components of learning and in many educational systems it is limited to test scores and course grades, which represent the poorest quality of feedback a learner can receive. Narrative feedback from a credible source that is specific to desired outcomes is the most effective form of feedback. When incorporated as part of a dialogue that includes follow-up on feedback and resources to support change, the impact of feedback can be maximized.
Mentoring helps to support learners through the use of reflection and feedback to enhance personal and professional development, as well as enhance engagement and reduce burnout. Mentors can support the intrinsic motivation of learners, through coaching to enhance performance and asking questions rather than providing answers. Mentoring is typically underused in medical education because of the time required and the lack of incentives for faculty, as well as structure of the curriculum that does not support longitudinal relationships. Mentoring programs, a supportive environment and shared commitment all can enhance the outcomes of mentoring relationships.
Engagement is the opposite of burnout and represents a high level of satisfaction for learners and faculty. In the organizational psychology literature, engagement is supported through environments that support autonomy, social support and coaching, diversity, teamwork, meaningful challenges and self-control. Engagement builds intrinsic motivation, which increases the likelihood of success and sustained resolve in the face of challenges. Traditionally, engaging is not how educational settings have been characterized, with external controls, boring tasks, limited support, stressful exams and poor feedback. Educational programs have traditionally been more teacher-centered than learner-centered, which tends to create learning environments that learners find unsupportive, depressing and stressful.
Learning in a Social Context clearly focuses attention on learning as a social and collaborative enterprise rather than an individual experience. Medical school is largely based on apprenticeship, which is learning by watching, learning by participating and learning by imitating. To the extent learning environments limit learners' opportunities to learn from others, the power of social learning to develop skills, build professional identity and apply knowledge is lost.
The Shared Discovery Curriculum
goes a long way to address the misalignment of research and practice in medical education. Many though not all of the concerns raised by the authors have been addressed, guided by the principles
underlying the Shared Discovery Curriculum. The infrastructure provided by the student learning societies supports longer-term faculty-student mentoring relationships. The use of portfolios will provide rich formative feedback, and progress testing will yield summative feedback measured against consistent developmental criteria. Early meaningful clinical experiences will support learning that is active, social and cooperative. Whether we intended or not, we soon might be able to answer the rhetorical question posed by van der Vleuten and Driessen.
Brian Mavis, PhD
Director, Office of Medical Education Research and Development
Director, CHM Learning Academy
- What are EPAs, how do they connect with competencies or milestones? What does this mean to me?
The newest option in the AAMC's medical education catalogue is a learning opportunity designed specifically for early to mid-career medical school staff, administrators, medical educators, and faculty. The AAMC Virtual Medical Education Event will take place on January 8, 2016 and will present innovations in medical education and career-advancing strategies via an interactive, engaging virtual experience. Participants will:
- Learn the common language of competency-based education across the continuum - What are EPAs, how do they connect with competencies and milestones, and what does all of this mean to me?
- Hear from experts about how to best navigate the waters of career progression in medical education: finding mentors; preparing your portfolio; continuing your education; finding the right meeting; and presenting your work.
- Catch up with a sampling of what was discussed at the annual Medical Education Meeting, including the plenaries, select concurrent sessions, and RIME research papers.
- Listen to Dan Hunt, MD, MBA talk about LCME's move to continuous improvement cycles and think about how your work contributes to the overall well-being of your institution, your learners, and your faculty.
- Engage with leaders in medical education from the comfort of your office, home, or the call room at the hospital.
For more information, please visit: aamc.org/virtualmeded
|Spotlight: Introducing Monica van de Ridder |
Monica van de Ridder will be joining the faculty of the College of Human Medicine in December, dividing her time between the Office of Medical Education Research and Development (OMERAD) and Faculty Affairs and Development. She was born in The Nederlands. After finishing Teacher Training College, she studied Educational Sciences at Utrecht University (with honors cum laude). She worked for four years as a teacher of Dutch Languages in vocational education.
From 2001 - 2010 she worked at the Medical School of the University Medical Center Utrecht. She taught courses on doctor-patient communication skills, didactic courses for senior medical students on supervision skills, and faculty development courses on small group teaching and assessment. Further, she coordinated the Utrecht Progress Test.
From 2008-2015 she worked in the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Dordrecht as a senior advisor in medical education. The Albert Schweitzer hospital is a large peripheral community hospital (3800 employees, 800 beds). Her area of attention is UME, GME and CME, and especially management of change, the implementation of the new GME curricula, faculty development, educational quality management, and establishing a feedback culture in the daily practice in the hospital.
The topic of her PhD thesis is Feedback Research in Medical Education. She is interested in the variables that influence the feedback process and the feedback effect, the history and the development of feedback research, and the relation between feedback perception and behavior. Further, she is interested in variables that influence the feedback culture, and the practical question of how to create a feedback culture in the wards, the department and the hospital.
Monica will be joining the Netherlands Reformed Congregation at Covell Avenue. In her free time she likes reading world literature and discussing these books with friends over a good glass of wine. Doing creative things such as embroidery, cross stitching, working with paper, etcetera, is a good way of relaxation too. Further, she Iikes to invite people and cook a nice dinner, and than discuss topics of life, religion, art, books or social dilemmas. Visiting museums, listening to classical music and doing long distance walks are her other interests.
|Faculty Development: Free Online Tips and Strategies for Teachers in Higher Education |
Keeping up with teaching--emerging trends, new technology, instructional issues--is time-consuming. Here is a resource that may help.
Faculty Focus is a free website that provides short articles about strategies for teaching in higher education.
One of the latest articles, dated November 17th, 2015, is titled
Wallflowers in the Online Classroom. The author describes what such students experience and how to handle them.
The authors are generally faculty in higher education institutions. These articles go back several years, and if there are authors you particularly like, you can click on the author's name and see their previous articles.
There is one article published every weekday. For example, the titles from November 4th through 17 th are:
Nov. 4 - Step Away from the Lectern
Nov. 5 - Reconsidering Assumptions about Students and Technology
Nov. 6 - Do Online Students Cheat More on Tests?
Nov. 9 - It's Not Me, It's You: Coping with Student Resistance
Nov. 10 - Adding Game Elements to Your Online Course
Nov. 11 - Caring about Student Matters
Nov. 12 - Supporting the Mental Health Needs of Online Students
Nov. 13 - Examining the Benefits of Cumulative Tests and Finals
Nov. 16 - An Objective Approach to Grading
Nov. 17 - Wallflowers in the Online Classroom
If you would like to see all the articles written on the same topic, click on that topic in the list at the right side of the web page. Some of the topics offered are:
There are several longer reports available on the topics of academic leadership, instructional design, teaching and learning, educational assessment, online education, and teaching with technology. These reports are listed under the tab Free Reports at the top of the web page.
In addition to links to the articles and the list of topics, the Faculty Focus website at http://www.facultyfocus.com/
provides sign-up for a free newsletter that contains the latest article and is automatically emailed to your inbox three times a week.
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