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The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requires programs to develop goals and objectives for each educational level and distribute them to residents and faculty in written or electronic form,1 and specifies that these learning objectives “must be accomplished through an appropriate blend of supervised patient care responsibilities, clinical teaching, and didactic educational events.”1 These requirements reflect an understanding that explicit goals and objectives contribute to the planning, conduct, and evaluation of programs that prepare residents able to practice independently at the completion of training. The purpose of this article is to provide program directors with operational definitions, medical education examples, and features contributing to the quality of educational goals and objectives.
Goals, objectives, and competencies are terms with specific meanings used to communicate expectations for educational programs. The ACGME directs programs to communicate effectively about each of these components, such that learning expectations are transparent, explicit, and predictable to residents, faculty, and accrediting agencies. A classic format for behavioral objectives is Bloom's taxonomy.2,3 More recently, entrustable professional activities4 and intended learning outcomes5 have been added for communicating desired expectations to learners. Definitions and examples are provided in table 1.
Program directors must
Patricia B. Mullan, PhD, is Professor, Department of Medical Education at University of Michigan School of Medicine; Monica L. Lypson, MD, MHPE, is Associate Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine and Medical Education at University of Michigan School of Medicine.
University of Michigan Advisory Committee
Séan Smith, MD, Resident Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation; Richard Cohan, MD, Faculty Radiology; Scott Gitlin, MD, Faculty Internal Medicine/Hematology/Oncology; Steven Kasten, MD, Faculty Plastic Surgery; Terry Kowalenko, MD, Faculty Emergency Medicine and Medical Education; Monica Lypson, MD, MHPE, Faculty Internal Medicine and Medical Education/Graduate Medical Education; Mark Prince, MD, Faculty Otolaryngology; Kevin Reynolds, MD, Faculty Obstetrics Gynecology – Gynecology Oncology; Catherine Spires, MS, MD, Faculty Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation; and Paul Dougherty, MD, Faculty Orthopedics.