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1.  How to improve medical education website design 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:30.
The Internet provides a means of disseminating medical education curricula, allowing institutions to share educational resources. Much of what is published online is poorly planned, does not meet learners' needs, or is out of date.
Applying principles of curriculum development, adult learning theory and educational website design may result in improved online educational resources. Key steps in developing and implementing an education website include: 1) Follow established principles of curriculum development; 2) Perform a needs assessment and repeat the needs assessment regularly after curriculum implementation; 3) Include in the needs assessment targeted learners, educators, institutions, and society; 4) Use principles of adult learning and behavioral theory when developing content and website function; 5) Design the website and curriculum to demonstrate educational effectiveness at an individual and programmatic level; 6) Include a mechanism for sustaining website operations and updating content over a long period of time.
Interactive, online education programs are effective for medical training, but require planning, implementation, and maintenance that follow established principles of curriculum development, adult learning, and behavioral theory.
PMCID: PMC2868857  PMID: 20409344
2.  Oncology education in Canadian undergraduate and postgraduate medical programs: a survey of educators and learners 
Current Oncology  2014;21(1):e75-e88.
The oncology education framework currently in use in Canadian medical training programs is unknown, and the needs of learners have not been fully assessed to determine whether they are adequately prepared to manage patients with cancer.
To assess the oncology education framework currently in use at Canadian medical schools and residency training programs for family (fm) and internal medicine (im), and to evaluate opinions about the content and utility of standard oncology education objectives, a Web survey was designed and sent to educators and learners. The survey recipients included undergraduate medical education curriculum committee members (umeccms), directors of fm and im programs, oncologists, medical students, and fm and im residents.
Survey responses were received from 677 educators and learners. Oncology education was felt to be inadequate in their respective programs by 58% of umeccms, 57% of fm program directors, and 50% of im program directors. For learners, oncology education was thought to be inadequate by 67% of medical students, 86% of fm residents, and 63% of im residents. When comparing teaching of medical subspecialty–related diseases, all groups agreed that their trainees were least prepared to manage patients with cancer. A standard set of oncology objectives was thought to be possibly or definitely useful for undergraduate learners by 59% of respondents overall and by 61% of postgraduate learners.
Oncology education in Canadian undergraduate and postgraduate fm and im training programs are currently thought to be inadequate by a majority of educators and learners. Developing a standard set of oncology objectives might address the needs of learners.
PMCID: PMC3921051  PMID: 24523624
Oncology education; Canada; undergraduate medical programs; postgraduate medical programs
3.  Effect of an Internet-based Curriculum on Postgraduate Education 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2004;19(5 Pt 2):505-509.
We hypothesized that the Internet could be used to disseminate and evaluate a curriculum in ambulatory care, and that internal medicine residency program directors would value features made possible by online dissemination. An Internet-based ambulatory care curriculum was developed and marketed to internal medicine residency program directors. Utilization and knowledge outcomes were tracked by the website; opinions of program directors were measured by paper surveys. Twenty-four programs enrolled with the online curriculum. The curriculum was rated favorably by all programs, test scores on curricular content improved significantly, and program directors rated highly features made possible by an Internet-based curriculum.
PMCID: PMC1492333  PMID: 15109313
curriculum; computer-assisted instruction
4.  Can medical learners achieve point-of-care ultrasound competency using a high-fidelity ultrasound simulator?: a pilot study 
Point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) is currently not a universal component of curricula for medical undergraduate and postgraduate training. We designed and assessed a simulation-based PoCUS training program for medical learners, incorporating image acquisition and image interpretation for simulated emergency medical pathologies. We wished to see if learners could achieve competency in simulated ultrasound following focused training in a PoCUS protocol.
Twelve learners (clerks and residents) received standardized training consisting of online preparation materials, didactic teaching, and an interactive hands-on workshop using a high-fidelity ultrasound simulator (CAE Vimedix). We used the Abdominal and Cardiothoracic Evaluation by Sonography (ACES) protocol as the curriculum for PoCUS training. Participants were assessed during 72 simulated emergency cardiorespiratory scenarios. Their ability to complete an ACES scan independently was assessed. Data was analyzed using R software.
Participants independently generated 574 (99.7%) of the 576 expected ultrasound windows during the 72 simulated scenarios and correctly interpreted 67 (93%) of the 72 goal-directed PoCUS scans.
Following a focused training process using medical simulation, medical learners demonstrated an ability to achieve a degree of competency to both acquire and correctly interpret cardiorespiratory PoCUS findings using a high-fidelity ultrasound simulator.
PMCID: PMC3843513  PMID: 24245514
Emergency medicine; Simulation; Medical education; Ultrasound; Echocardiography
5.  A Learner-Centered Diabetes Management Curriculum 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(11):2188-2193.
Diabetes errors, particularly insulin administration errors, can lead to complications and death in the pediatric inpatient setting. Despite a lecture-format curriculum on diabetes management at our children’s hospital, resident diabetes-related errors persisted. We hypothesized that a multifaceted, learner-centered diabetes curriculum would help reduce pathway errors.
The 8-week curricular intervention consisted of 1) an online tutorial addressing residents’ baseline diabetes management knowledge, 2) an interactive diabetes pathway discussion, 3) a learner-initiated diabetes question and answer session, and 4) a case presentation featuring embedded pathway errors for residents to recognize, resolve, and prevent. Errors in the 9 months before the intervention, as identified through an incident reporting system, were compared with those in the 10 months afterward, with errors classified as relating to insulin, communication, intravenous fluids, nutrition, and discharge delay.
Before the curricular intervention, resident errors occurred in 28 patients (19.4% of 144 diabetes admissions) over 9 months. After the intervention, resident errors occurred in 11 patients (6.6% of 166 diabetes admissions) over 10 months, representing a statistically significant (P = 0.0007) decrease in patients with errors from before intervention to after intervention. Throughout the study, the errors were distributed into the categories as follows: insulin, 43.8%; communication, 39.6%; intravenous fluids, 14.6%; nutrition, 0%; and discharge delay, 2.1%.
An interactive learner-centered diabetes curriculum for pediatric residents can be effective in reducing inpatient diabetes errors in a tertiary children’s hospital. This educational model promoting proactive learning has implications for decreasing errors across other medical disciplines.
PMCID: PMC3476896  PMID: 22875227
6.  Postgraduate training for rural family practice. Goals and opportunities. 
Canadian Family Physician  1996;42:1133-1138.
PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: The continuing shortage of rural family physicians in Canada. PURPOSE OF PROGRAM: To further develop training for rural family practice so that adequate numbers of rural family physicians will be appropriately prepared. MAIN COMPONENTS OF PROGRAM: All family medicine residents should have the opportunity to experience the joys and challenges of rural family practice. Rural family medicine training streams provide the best education for family medicine residents who are planning a career in rural family medicine. Integrated training for rural family practice should be high-quality, academically sound, needs-driven, evidence-based, learner-centered, and outcome-measured. This involves comprehensive development of curricula that provide specific skills and appropriate core subjects in rural practice as well as a solid family medicine foundation. contextual and experiential learning in areas similar to or in actual areas where there is a need for rural physicians, and appropriate hospital rotations to learn skills for the hospital role of many rural family doctors, are important components of rural family medicine training. CONCLUSIONS: Postgraduate rural family medicine training programs can be further focused and developed to train more physicians with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for rural practice.
PMCID: PMC2146487  PMID: 8704489
7.  Effects of a Structured Decoding Curriculum on Adult Literacy Learners’ Reading Development 
This article reports the results from a randomized control field trial that investigated the impact of an enhanced decoding and spelling curriculum on the development of adult basic education (ABE) learners’ reading skills. Sixteen ABE programs that offered class-based instruction to Low-Intermediate level learners were randomly assigned to either the treatment group or the control group. Reading instructors in the 8 treatment programs taught decoding and spelling using the study-developed curriculum, Making Sense of Decoding and Spelling (MSDS), and instructors in the 8 control programs used their existing reading instruction. A comparison group of 7 ABE programs whose instructors used K-3 structured curricula adapted for use with ABE learners were included for supplemental analyses. Seventy-one reading classes, 34 instructors, and 349 adult learners with pre- and posttests participated in the study. The study found a small but significant effect on one measure of decoding skills, which was the proximal target of the curriculum. No overall significant effects were found for word recognition, spelling, fluency, or comprehension. Pretest to posttest gains for word recognition were small to moderate, but not significantly better than the control classes. Adult learners who were born and educated outside of the U.S. made larger gains on 7 of the 11 reading measures than learners who were born and educated within the U.S. However, participation in the treatment curriculum was more beneficial for learners who were born and educated in the U.S. in developing their word recognition skills.
PMCID: PMC3232465  PMID: 22163055
8.  Disparities Education: What Do Students Want? 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2010;25(Suppl 2):102-107.
Educating medical students about health disparities may be one step in diminishing the disparities in health among different populations. According to adult learning theory, learners’ opinions are vital to the development of future curricula.
Qualitative research using focus group methodology.
Our objectives were to explore the content that learners value in a health disparities curriculum and how they would want such a curriculum to be taught.
Study participants were first year medical students with an interest in health disparities (n = 17).
Semi-structured interviews consisting of 12 predetermined questions, with follow-up and clarifying questions arising from the discussion. Using grounded theory, codes were initially developed by the team of investigators, applied, and validated through an iterative process.
The students perceived negative attitudes towards health disparities education as a potential barrier towards the development of a health disparities curriculum and proposed possible solutions. These solutions centered around the learning environment and skill building to combat health disparities.
While many of the students’ opinions were corroborated in the literature, the most striking differences were their opinions on how to develop good attitudes among the student body. Given the impact of the provider on health disparities, how to develop such attitudes is an important area for further research.
PMCID: PMC2847116  PMID: 20352502
health disparities; health care disparities; focus groups; curriculum development; medical education
9.  Lessons Learned From a 5-Year Experience With a 4-Week Experiential Quality Improvement Curriculum in a Preventive Medicine Fellowship 
Competency in practice-based learning and improvement (PBLI) and systems-based practice (SBP) empowers learners with the skills to plan, lead, and execute health care systems improvement efforts. Experiences from several graduate medical education programs describe the implementation of PBLI and SBP curricula as challenging because of lack of adequate curricular time and faculty resources, as well as a perception that PBLI and SBP are not relevant to future careers. A dedicated experiential rotation that requires fellow participation in a specialty-specific quality improvement project (QIP) may address some of these challenges.
We describe a retrospective analysis of our 5-year experience with a dedicated 3-week PBLI-SBP experiential curriculum in a preventive medicine fellowship program at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Between 2004 and 2008, 19 learners including 7 preventive medicine fellows participated in the rotation. Using just-in-time learning, fellows work together on a relatively complex QIP of community or institutional significance. Since 2004, all 19 learners (100%) participating in this rotation have consistently demonstrated statistically significant increase in their quality improvement knowledge application tool (QIKAT) scores at the end of the rotation. At the end of the rotation, all 19 learners stated that they were either confident or very confident of making a change to improve health care in a local setting. Most of the QIPs resulted in sustainable practice improvements, and resultant solutions have been disseminated beyond the location of the original QIP.
A dedicated experiential rotation that requires learner participation in a QIP is one of the effective methods to address the needs of the SBP and PBLI competencies.
PMCID: PMC2931202  PMID: 21975713
10.  Learner perception of oral and written examinations in an international medical training program 
There are an increasing number of training programs in emergency medicine involving different countries or cultures. Many examination types, both oral and written, have been validated as useful assessment tools around the world; but learner perception of their use in the setting of cross-cultural training programs has not been described.
The goal of this study was to evaluate learner perception of four common examination methods in an international educational curriculum in emergency medicine.
Twenty-four physicians in a cross-cultural training program were surveyed to determine learner perception of four different examination methods: structured oral case simulations, multiple-choice tests, semi-structured oral examinations, and essay tests. We also describe techniques used and barriers faced.
There was a 100% response rate. Learners reported that all testing methods were useful in measuring knowledge and clinical ability and should be used for accreditation and future training programs. They rated oral examinations as significantly more useful than written in measuring clinical abilities (p < 0.01). Compared to the other three types of examinations, learners ranked oral case simulations as the most useful examination method for assessing learners’ fund of knowledge and clinical ability (p < 0.01).
Physician learners in a cross-cultural, international training program perceive all four written and oral examination methods as useful, but rate structured oral case simulations as the most useful method for assessing fund of knowledge and clinical ability.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12245-009-0147-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2850976  PMID: 20414377
Graduate medical education; Oral case simulations; Assessment tools; Curriculum development; International medical education
11.  How Reliable Are Assessments of Clinical Teaching? 
Learner feedback is the primary method for evaluating clinical faculty, despite few existing standards for measuring learner assessments.
To review the published literature on instruments for evaluating clinical teachers and to summarize themes that will aid in developing universally appealing tools.
Searching 5 electronic databases revealed over 330 articles. Excluded were reviews, editorials, and qualitative studies. Twenty-one articles describing instruments designed for evaluating clinical faculty by learners were found. Three investigators studied these papers and tabulated characteristics of the learning environments and validation methods. Salient themes among the evaluation studies were determined.
Many studies combined evaluations from both outpatient and inpatient settings and some authors combined evaluations from different learner levels. Wide ranges in numbers of teachers, evaluators, evaluations, and scale items were observed. The most frequently encountered statistical methods were factor analysis and determining internal consistency reliability with Cronbach's α. Less common methods were the use of test-retest reliability, interrater reliability, and convergent validity between validated instruments. Fourteen domains of teaching were identified and the most frequently studied domains were interpersonal and clinical-teaching skills.
Characteristics of teacher evaluations vary between educational settings and between different learner levels, indicating that future studies should utilize more narrowly defined study populations. A variety of validation methods including temporal stability, interrater reliability, and convergent validity should be considered. Finally, existing data support the validation of instruments comprised solely of interpersonal and clinical-teaching domains.
PMCID: PMC1492515  PMID: 15333063
validity; evaluation studies; medical faculty
12.  Self-Reported Emergency Medicine Residency Applicant Attitudes Towards a Procedural Cadaver Laboratory Curriculum 
Residency applicants consider a variety of factors when ranking emergency medicine (EM) programs for their NRMP match list. A human cadaver emergency procedure lab curriculum is uncommon. We hypothesized that the presence this curriculum would positively impact the ranking of an EM residency program.
The EM residency at Nebraska Medical Center is an urban, university-based program with a PGY I–III format. Residency applicants during the interview for a position in the PGY I class of 2006 were surveyed by three weekly electronic mailings. The survey was distributed in March 2006 after the final NRMP match results were released. The survey explored learner preferences and methodological commonality of models of emergency procedural training, as well as the impact of a procedural cadaver lab curriculum on residency ranking. ANOVA of ranks was used to compare responses to ranking questions.
Of the 73 potential subjects, 54 (74%) completed the survey. Respondents ranked methods of procedural instruction from 1 (most preferred or most common technique) to 4 (least preferred or least common technique). Response averages and 95% confidence intervals for the preferred means of learning a new procedure are as follows: textbook (3.69; 3.51–3.87), mannequin (2.83; 2.64–3.02), human cadaver (1.93; 1.72–2.14), and living patient (1.56; 1.33–1.79). Response averages for the commonality of means used to teach a new procedure are as follows: human cadaver (3.63; 3.46–3.80), mannequin (2.70; 2.50–2.90), living patient (2.09; 1.85–2.33), and textbook (1.57; 1.32–1.82). When asked if the University of Nebraska Medical Center residency ranked higher in the individual’s match list because of its procedural cadaver lab, 14.8% strongly disagreed, 14.8% disagreed, 40.7% were neutral, 14.8% agreed, and 14.8% strongly agreed.
We conclude that, although cadaveric procedural training is viewed by senior medical student learners as a desirable means of learning a procedure, its use is uncommon during medical school, and its presence as part of a residency curriculum does not influence ranking of the residency program.
PMCID: PMC2672270  PMID: 19561729
13.  Five-Year Experience: Reflective Writing in a Preclinical End-of-Life Care Curriculum 
The Permanente Journal  2008;12(2):36-41.
Introduction: This paper examines the use of reflective writing in a preclinical end-of-life curriculum including comparison of the role and outcomes of out-of-class (OC) versus in-class (IC) writing.
Methods: Learners were required to complete one-page essays on their experiences and concerns about death and dying after attending a series of end-of-life care lectures. From 2002–2005, essays were completed OC and in 2006 and 2007 essays were completed during the first ten minutes of small group discussion sessions. Essays were collected and analyzed for salient themes.
Results: Between 2002–2007, reflection essays were gathered from 829 learners, including 522 OC essays and 307 IC essays. Essay analysis identified four major themes of student concerns related to caring for dying patients, as well as student reactions to specific curricular components and to the use of reflection. IC essays were shorter and less polished than OC essays but utilized a wider variety of formats including poems and bulleted lists. IC essays tended to react to lecture content immediately preceding the writing exercise whereas OC varied in curricular components upon which they focused. OC essays have the advantage of giving learners more time to choose subject matter, whereas IC essays provide a structured time in which to actively reflect. Both formats served as catalysts for small group discussions.
Discussion: Writing exercises can effectively provide an important opportunity and motivation for learners to reflect on past experiences and future expectations related to providing end-of-life care.
PMCID: PMC3042288  PMID: 21364810
14.  The learner’s perspective in GP teaching practices with multi-level learners: a qualitative study 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:55.
Medical students, junior hospital doctors on rotation and general practice (GP) registrars are undertaking their training in clinical general practices in increasing numbers in Australia. Some practices have four levels of learner. This study aimed to explore how multi-level teaching (also called vertical integration of GP education and training) is occurring in clinical general practice and the impact of such teaching on the learner.
A qualitative research methodology was used with face-to-face, semi-structured interviews of medical students, junior hospital doctors, GP registrars and GP teachers in eight training practices in the region that taught all levels of learners. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Qualitative analysis was conducted using thematic analysis techniques aided by the use of the software package N-Vivo 9. Primary themes were identified and categorised by the co-investigators.
52 interviews were completed and analysed. Themes were identified relating to both the practice learning environment and teaching methods used.
A practice environment where there is a strong teaching culture, enjoyment of learning, and flexible learning methods, as well as learning spaces and organised teaching arrangements, all contribute to positive learning from a learners’ perspective.
Learners identified a number of innovative teaching methods and viewed them as positive. These included multi-level learner group tutorials in the practice, being taught by a team of teachers, including GP registrars and other health professionals, and access to a supernumerary GP supervisor (also termed “GP consultant teacher”). Other teaching methods that were viewed positively were parallel consulting, informal learning and rural hospital context integrated learning.
Vertical integration of GP education and training generally impacted positively on all levels of learner. This research has provided further evidence about the learning culture, structures and teaching processes that have a positive impact on learners in the clinical general practice setting where there are multiple levels of learners. It has also identified some innovative teaching methods that will need further examination. The findings reinforce the importance of the environment for learning and learner centred approaches and will be important for training organisations developing vertically integrated practices and in their training of GP teachers.
PMCID: PMC3995295  PMID: 24645670
Postgraduate training; Workplace based learning; General Practice Education; Teaching innovation; Vertical integration of GP education; Multi-level learning; Learning culture
15.  Comprehensive Ambulatory Medicine Training for Categorical Internal Medicine Residents 
It is challenging to create an educational and satisfying experience in the outpatient setting. We developed a 3-year ambulatory curriculum that addresses the special needs of our categorical medicine residents with distinct learning objectives for each year of training and clinical experiences and didactic sessions to meet these goals. All PGY1 residents spend 1 month on a general medicine ambulatory care rotation. PGY2 residents spend 3 months on an ambulatory block focusing on 8 core medicine subspecialties. Third-year residents spend 2 months on an advanced ambulatory rotation. The curriculum was started in July 2000 and has been highly regarded by the house staff, with statistically significant improvements in the PGY2 and PGY3 evaluation scores. By enhancing outpatient clinical teaching and didactics with an emphasis on the specific needs of our residents, we have been able to reframe the thinking and attitudes of a group of inpatient-oriented residents.
PMCID: PMC1494851  PMID: 12709096
medical education; residency training; ambulatory medicine
16.  How do postgraduate GP trainees regulate their learning and what helps and hinders them? A qualitative study 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:67.
Self-regulation is essential for professional development. It involves monitoring of performance, identifying domains for improvement, undertaking learning activities, applying newly learned knowledge and skills and self-assessing performance. Since self-assessment alone is ineffective in identifying weaknesses, learners should seek external feedback too. Externally regulated educational interventions, like reflection, learning portfolios, assessments and progress meetings, are increasingly used to scaffold self-regulation.
The aim of this study is to explore how postgraduate trainees regulate their learning in the workplace, how external regulation promotes self-regulation and which elements facilitate or impede self-regulation and learning.
In a qualitative study with a phenomenologic approach we interviewed first- and third-year GP trainees from two universities in the Netherlands. Twenty-one verbatim transcripts were coded. Through iterative discussion the researchers agreed on the interpretation of the data and saturation was reached.
Trainees used a short and a long self-regulation loop. The short loop took one week at most and was focused on problems that were easy to resolve and needed minor learning activities. The long loop was focused on complex or recurring problems needing multiple and planned longitudinal learning activities. External assessments and formal training affected the long but not the short loop. The supervisor had a facilitating role in both loops. Self-confidence was used to gauge competence.Elements influencing self-regulation were classified into three dimensions: personal (strong motivation to become a good doctor), interpersonal (stimulation from others) and contextual (organizational and educational features).
Trainees did purposefully self-regulate their learning. Learning in the short loop may not be visible to others. Trainees should be encouraged to actively seek and use external feedback in both loops. An important question for further research is which educational interventions might be used to scaffold learning in the short loop. Investing in supervisor quality remains important, since they are close to trainee learning in both loops.
PMCID: PMC3479408  PMID: 22866981
Self-regulation; Workplace-based learning; Postgraduate training; Professional development; Qualitative research methods
17.  Evidence-based medicine training during residency: a randomized controlled trial of efficacy 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:59.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has been widely integrated into residency curricula, although results of randomized controlled trials and long term outcomes of EBM educational interventions are lacking. We sought to determine if an EBM workshop improved internal medicine residents' EBM knowledge and skills and use of secondary evidence resources.
This randomized controlled trial included 48 internal medicine residents at an academic medical center. Twenty-three residents were randomized to attend a 4-hour interactive workshop in their PGY-2 year. All residents completed a 25-item EBM knowledge and skills test and a self-reported survey of literature searching and resource usage in their PGY-1, PGY-2, and PGY-3 years.
There was no difference in mean EBM test scores between the workshop and control groups at PGY-2 or PGY-3. However, mean EBM test scores significantly increased over time for both groups in PGY-2 and PGY-3. Literature searches, and resource usage also increased significantly in both groups after the PGY-1 year.
We were unable to detect a difference in EBM knowledge between residents who did and did not participate in our workshop. Significant improvement over time in EBM scores, however, suggests EBM skills were learned during residency. Future rigorous studies should determine the best methods for improving residents' EBM skills as well as their ability to apply evidence during clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC2940785  PMID: 20807453
18.  A Pilot Study of a “Resident Educator And Life-long Learner” Program: Using a Faculty Train-the-Trainer Program 
We sought to create a resident educator program using a Train-the-Trainer (TTT) approach with adaptable curricula at a large tertiary health care center with a medical school and 60 accredited residency programs.
The Resident Educator And Life-long Learner (REALL) Program was designed as a 3-phase model. Phase 1 included centralized planning and development that led to the design of 7 teaching modules and evaluation tools for TTT and resident sessions. Phase 2 entailed the dissemination of the TTT modules (Learning Styles, Observational Skills, Giving Feedback, Communication Skills: The Angry Patient, Case-Based Teaching, Clinical Reasoning, Effective Presentations) to faculty trainers. In phase 3, specific modules were chosen and customized by the faculty trainers, and implemented for their residents. Evaluations from residents and faculty were collected throughout this process.
A total of 45 faculty trainers representing 27 residency programs participated in the TTT program, and 97% of trainers were confident in their ability to implement sessions for their residents. A total of 20 trainers from 11 residency programs implemented 33 modules to train 479 residents, and 97% of residents believed they would be able to apply the skills learned. Residents' comments revealed appreciation of discussion of their roles as teachers.
Use of an internal TTT program can be a strategy for dissemination of resident educator and life-long learner curricula in a large academic tertiary care center. The TTT model may be useful to other large academic centers.
PMCID: PMC3179234  PMID: 22942958
19.  Teaching Communication Skills Using Role-Play: An Experience-Based Guide for Educators 
Journal of Palliative Medicine  2011;14(6):775-780.
Teaching advanced communication skills requires educators who are not only excellent communicators themselves but have the ability to deconstruct the components of the interaction and develop a cognitive approach that can be used across a variety of learners, diverse content, and under different time constraints while helping the learner develop the skill of self-reflection in a ‘safe’ and effective learning environment. The use of role-play in small groups is an important method to help learners cultivate the skills required to engage in nuanced, often difficult conversations with seriously ill patients. To be effective, educators utilizing role-play must help learners set realistic goals and know when and how to provide feedback to the learners in a way that allows a deepening of skills and a promotion of self-awareness. The challenge is to do this in a manner that does not cause too much anxiety for the learner. In this article we outline an approach to teaching communication skills to advanced learners through the use of different types of role-play, feedback, and debriefing.
PMCID: PMC3155105  PMID: 21651366
20.  Internet-based medical education: a realist review of what works, for whom and in what circumstances 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:12.
Educational courses for doctors and medical students are increasingly offered via the Internet. Despite much research, course developers remain unsure about what (if anything) to offer online and how. Prospective learners lack evidence-based guidance on how to choose between the options on offer. We aimed to produce theory driven criteria to guide the development and evaluation of Internet-based medical courses.
Realist review - a qualitative systematic review method whose goal is to identify and explain the interaction between context, mechanism and outcome. We searched 15 electronic databases and references of included articles, seeking to identify theoretical models of how the Internet might support learning from empirical studies which (a) used the Internet to support learning, (b) involved doctors or medical students; and (c) reported a formal evaluation. All study designs and outcomes were considered. Using immersion and interpretation, we tested theories by considering how well they explained the different outcomes achieved in different educational contexts.
249 papers met our inclusion criteria. We identified two main theories of the course-in-context that explained variation in learners' satisfaction and outcomes: Davis's Technology Acceptance Model and Laurillard's model of interactive dialogue. Learners were more likely to accept a course if it offered a perceived advantage over available non-Internet alternatives, was easy to use technically, and compatible with their values and norms. 'Interactivity' led to effective learning only if learners were able to enter into a dialogue - with a tutor, fellow students or virtual tutorials - and gain formative feedback.
Different modes of course delivery suit different learners in different contexts. When designing or choosing an Internet-based course, attention must be given to the fit between its technical attributes and learners' needs and priorities; and to ways of providing meaningful interaction. We offer a preliminary set of questions to aid course developers and learners consider these issues.
PMCID: PMC2825237  PMID: 20122253
21.  So much to teach, so little time: a prospective cohort study evaluating a tool to select content for a critical care curriculum 
Critical Care  2008;12(5):R127.
Curricular content is often based on the personal opinions of a small number of individuals. Although convenient, such curricula may not meet the needs of the target learner, the program or the institution. Using an objective method to ensure content validity of a curriculum can alleviate this issue.
A form was created that listed clinical presentations relevant to residents completing intensive care unit (ICU) rotations. Twenty residents and 20 intensivists in tertiary academic multisystem ICUs ranked each presentation on three separate scales: how life-threatening each is, how commonly each is seen in critical care, and how reversible each is. Mean scores for the individual scales were calculated, and these three values were subsequently multiplied together to achieve a composite score for each presentation. The correlation between the two groups' scores for the presentations was calculated to assess reliability of the process.
There was excellent agreement between the two groups for rating each presentation (correlation coefficient r = 0.94). The 10 clinical presentations with the highest composite scores formed the basis of our new curriculum.
We describe a method that can be used to select the content of a curriculum for learners in an ICU. Although the content that we selected to include in our curriculum may not be applicable to other ICUs, we believe that the process we used is easily applied elsewhere, and that it provides an efficient method to improve content validity of a curriculum.
PMCID: PMC2592766  PMID: 18922170
22.  Proposal for a Collaborative Approach to Clinical Teaching 
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2009;84(4):339-344.
Evidence suggests that inexperienced clinical teachers are often controlling and noninteractive. Adult learning theory states that mature students prefer shared and self-directed learning and that skillful teachers favor facilitating discussions over transmitting knowledge. Similarly, education research shows that effective clinical teachers invest in relationships with learners, ask questions to diagnose learners, communicate complex information clearly, and provide meaningful feedback. On the basis of these principles, we propose a collaborative approach to clinical teaching that has 4 essential components: (1) establish a relationship with the learner, (2) diagnose the learner, (3) use teaching frameworks that engage learners, and (4) develop teaching scripts and a personal philosophy. This article includes suggestions for creating a positive learning climate, asking higher-order questions, providing meaningful feedback, and developing teaching scripts. We believe that practicing this approach, which emphasizes respectful teacher-learner relationships, improves the quality of every clinical teaching encounter.
PMCID: PMC2665979  PMID: 19339652
23.  Use of Ecological Momentary Assessment to Guide Curricular Change in Graduate Medical Education 
To assess whether a novel evaluation tool could guide curricular change in an internal medicine residency program.
The authors developed an 8-item Ecological Momentary Assessment tool and collected daily evaluations from residents of the relative educational value of 3 differing ambulatory morning report formats (scale: 8  =  best, 0  =  worst). From the evaluations, they made a targeted curricular change and used the tool to assess its impact.
Residents completed 1388 evaluation cards for 223 sessions over 32 months, with a response rate of 75.3%. At baseline, there was a decline in perceived educational value with advancing postgraduate (PGY) year for the overall mean score (PGY-1, 7.4; PGY-2, 7.2; PGY-3, 7.0; P < .01) and for percentage reporting greater than 2 new things learned (PGY-1, 77%; PGY-2, 66%; PGY-3, 50%; P < .001). The authors replaced the format of a lower scoring session with one of higher cognitive content to target upper-level residents. The new session's mean score improved (7.1 to 7.4; P  =  .03); the adjusted odds ratios before and after the change for percentage answering, “Yes, definitely” to “Area I need to improve” was 2.53 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.45–4.42; P  =  .001) and to “Would recommend to others,” it was 2.08 (95% CI, 1.12–3.89; P  =  .05).
The Ecological Momentary Assessment tool successfully guided ambulatory morning report curricular changes and confirmed successful curricular impact. Ecological Momentary Assessment concepts of multiple, frequent, timely evaluations can be successfully applied in residency curriculum redesign.
PMCID: PMC3184922  PMID: 22655137
24.  Teaching primary care obstetrics 
Canadian Family Physician  2014;60(3):e180-e186.
To explore the experiences and recommendations for recruitment of family physicians who practise and teach primary care obstetrics.
Qualitative study using in-depth interviews.
Six primary care obstetrics groups in Edmonton, Alta, that were involved in teaching family medicine residents in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta.
Twelve family physicians who practised obstetrics in groups. All participants were women, which was reasonably representative of primary care obstetrics providers in Edmonton.
Each participant underwent an in-depth interview. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. The investigators independently reviewed the transcripts and then analyzed the transcripts together in an iterative and interpretive manner.
Main findings
Themes identified in this study include lack of confidence in teaching, challenges of having learners, benefits of having learners, and recommendations for recruiting learners to primary care obstetrics. While participants described insecurity and challenges related to teaching, they also identified positive aspects, and offered suggestions for recruiting learners to primary care obstetrics.
Despite describing poor confidence as teachers and having challenges with learners, the participants identified positive experiences that sustained their interest in teaching. Supporting these teachers and recruiting more such role models is important to encourage family medicine learners to enter careers such as primary care obstetrics.
PMCID: PMC3952783  PMID: 24627402
25.  Medical Students' and Residents' preferred site characteristics and preceptor behaviours for learning in the ambulatory setting: a cross-sectional survey 
Medical training is increasingly occurring in the ambulatory setting for final year medical students and residents. This study looks to identify if gender, school, level of training, or speciality affects learner's (final year medical students and residents) preferred site characteristics and preceptor behaviours for learning in the ambulatory setting.
All final year medical students and residents at the five medical schools in Ontario (N = 3471) were surveyed about the site characteristics and preceptor behaviours most enhancing their learning in the ambulatory setting. Preferred site characteristics and preceptor behaviours were rank ordered. Factor analysis grouped the site characteristics and preceptor behaviours into themes which were then correlated with gender, school, level of training, and speciality.
Having an adequate number and variety of patients while being supervised by enthusiastic preceptors who give feedback and are willing to discuss their reasoning processes and delegate responsibility are site characteristics and preceptor behaviours valued by almost all learners. Some teaching strategies recently suggested to improve efficiency in the ambulatory teaching setting, such as structuring the interview for the student and teaching and reviewing the case in front of the patient, were found not to be valued by learners. There was a striking degree of similarity in what was valued by all learners but there were also some educationally significant differences, particularly between learners at different levels and in different specialities. Key findings between the different levels include preceptor interaction being most important for medical students as opposed to residents who most value issues pertaining to patient logistics. Learning resources are less valued early and late in training. Teaching and having the case reviewed in front of the patient becomes increasingly less valued as learners advance in their training. As one approaches the end of ones' training office management instruction becomes increasingly valued. Differences between specialities pertain most to the type of practice residents will ultimately end up in (ie: office based specialties particularly valuing instruction in office management and health care system interaction).
Preceptors need to be aware of, and make efforts to provide, teaching strategies such as feedback and discussing clinical reasoning, that learners have identified as being helpful for learning. If strategies identified as not being valued for learning, such as teaching in front of the patient, must continue it will be important to explore the barriers they present to learning. Although what all learners want from their preceptors and clinic settings to enhance their learning is remarkably similar, being aware of the educationally significant differences, particularly for learners at different levels and in different specialities, will enhance teaching in the ambulatory setting.
PMCID: PMC514563  PMID: 15298710

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