COMSEP 2011 San Diego Meeting with AMSPDC
A COMPETENCY BASED GOAL SETTING TOOL IMPROVES SENIOR STUDENTS' CONFIDENCE IN SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING
Leila E. Stallworth, MD, Lisa E. Leggio, MD, Rachel Whitaker, Sc. M., Deborah S. Richardson, PhD, Educational Discovery Institute, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA
Background: Education theorists suggest that adults learn best when they reflect upon their own learning needs and set their own goals. Such self reflection and goal setting are required aspects of lifelong learning for pediatricians as part of Individualized Learning Plans for the Pediatric Residency Review Committee and Maintenance of Certification for the Americal Board of Pediatrics. We introduced the concept of ACGME competency-based SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals to future pediatricians during the senior year of medical school through an innovative curriculum and goal-setting tool. This presentation will review the results of our assessment of subsequent student self-reported self-directed learning abilities. Methods: We presented the concepts of ACGME competencies and SMART goals to senior students at the Medical College of Georgia who had enrolled in an "Advanced Pediatrics" elective. We then provided each student with our goal setting tool, which guided them to create three competency-based SMART goals for their senior year. Students later met individually with a mentor to review their goals. Students reported their degree of confidence in setting goals prior to enrollment in the elective and at the end of the course. Results: The five questions that assessed students' confidence in goal setting and developing learning plans were combined to create an overall confidence index (Cronbach alpha=0.68). Eleven students completed both pre-test and post-test. The paired samples t-test revealed a statistically significant increase in overall confidence in self-directed learning between pre-test mean of 18.9 and post-test mean of 21.9 out of 25. Students also reported that they thought the topic was important, appropriate and helpful. Conclusions: The confidence of senior students in self-directed learning increased significantly after an educational intervention which taught them how to create competency based SMART goals. The tool used to discuss goals with their mentors could be applied to senior students in other settings such as sub-Internships. We plan to study these students as they enter residency to see if goal setting in medical school increases their propensity for lifelong learning.