December 2023


It’s official—this is the shortest, darkest day of the year.  It all gets better from here, right?  Right?

Since this is the last Journal Club for 2023, we wanted to publicly thank our reviewers.  It takes a village (or a community of practice—see below!).

They are:  Sandra Al-Tamimi, Hosanna Au, Gary Beck Dallaghan, Marguerite Costitch, Folani Duncan, Karen Forbes, Tai Hairston, Dan Herchline, Nabanita Hossain,  Lauren Kahl, Kyra Len, Gilliamn Minviel, Mitra Misra, Kirstin Nackers, Maya Neeley, Srividya Naganathan, Tracy Omoegbele, Roshni Patel, Patricia Pichilingue Reto, Angela Punnett, Molly Rideout, Victoria Robinson, Caroline Roth, Antoinette Spoto-Cannons, Khadijah Tiamiyu, Emily Xiao and Andrew Zale


Happy New Year!

Amit, Jon and Karen

Motivating medical students to complete prework 

DeVaul N, Goldman E. The Medical Student Experience With Prework. J Med Educ Curric Dev. 2023 Nov 23;10:1-9. https://doi/10.1177/23821205231216863

Reviewed by Roshni Patel, MD

What was the study question?

What factors in medical student experiences affect their motivation to complete prework?

How was the study done?

A qualitative semi-structured interview was used to explore the experiences of 13 first and second-year medical students with prework assignments in their pre-clinical courses. Interviews were all done by lead author. Prework assignments were in various formats including videos recorded by faculty or from external resources, textbook chapters, articles, or chart completion using a particular resource. Themes from interview content were extracted utilizing qualitative coding methods.

What were the results?
Four themes were identified relating to how medical students experienced completing prework:

(1) Students have their pre-class routines such as preferring their learning method to gain the same knowledge in prework.

(2) The environment impacts students’ ability to complete prework. Specifically, the time allotted to completing work may or may not accommodate individual students’ schedules.

(3) Format and use determine whether prework is completed. Students were more likely to complete work if labeled “required,” content was broad-scoped and high-yield rather than detailed, the format was video-based rather than reading, and easily accessible.

(4) Students’ prior knowledge and peer opinion influence the attention to prework. Students were less likely to complete work if they were already familiar with the content or if other students discussed their preference of not doing the prework due to various reasons.

How can this be applied to my work in education?
This study highlights some important motivating factors for medical students when considering the value of completing prework. These factors can inform how prework is designed and presented to promote the completion of such work to equip medical students with the base knowledge they require to participate in active classroom learning sessions.

Editor’s Note: As we move towards more flipped classroom style, many of us assign some prework prior to a session. While a single center with a small number of nonclerkship students, this article does provide some insight into what factors promote students completing the prework. (AKP)

Time for some feedback

Ryan, AT, Judd, T, Wilson, C, et al. Timing's not everything: Immediate and delayed feedback are equally beneficial for performance in formative multiple-choice testingMed Educ. 2023; 1-10.

Reviewed by Sandra Al Tamimi, MD

What was the  research question?

Is the timing of feedback (immediate vs delayed) significant in knowledge transfer with test-enhanced learning?

How was the study done?    

Forty-one volunteer second-year medical students completed an initial 18 question multiple-choice question test. The initial test was broken down into two parts: for the initial 9 items, feedback was provided after each item (immediate conceptual feedback). For the latter 9 items, feedback was given after all the questions were completed (delayed conceptual feedback). Subjects then completed a post-test, which included both near transfer and far transfer questions. Near transfer is the ability to transfer knowledge learned through application in the same context. Far transfer is the ability to generalize knowledge learned to a less similar application. One week following the initial test, subjects completed a third test with different near and far test items. All tests were administered electronically.

What were the results?

The average score on the initial test was approximately 50%. The scores increased to an average of approximately 69% on the immediate post-test and approximately 67% on the 1 week follow up. The study showed that there was no statistical significance in feedback timing (immediate vs delayed). It was noted that although not statistically significant, the participants spent more time on feedback when the item was incorrectly answered. Additionally, there was increased response efficiency with immediate feedback. Whether a participant answered an initial test item correctly did predict success on their near and far transfer in both immediate and delayed post-tests.

How can I apply this in my educational setting?

Based on this study, in electronic multiple-choice testing, timing of feedback has no impact on learning and applying the material in additional follow-up testing. Incidentally, the study also found that immediate feedback was related to response efficiency. Future studies could look at using test-enhanced learning to improve response efficiency or how test-enhanced learning affects retention and application in additional modalities (i.e. short-answer questions or even clinical care).

Editor’s Note: Important to note that the ‘delayed feedback” condition in this study was only about 12 minutes after the test..  It’s unclear what significant delay in feedback (days to weeks) would do---and best practices still suggest that learners get feedback as soon as possible after an event, lest the learners (and the teachers!) forget.  (JG)


ICYMI: This Journal Club Rocks!

Disseminating evidence in medical education: journal club as a virtual community of practice

Gold J,  Pahwa AK, Forbes KL.  BMC Medical Education (2023) 23:572

Reviewed by: Molly Rideout

What was the study question?

Authors investigated how members of the Council for Medical Education in Pediatrics (COMSEP) are engaged in the monthly online COMSEP Journal Club.

How was it done?

Authors disseminated questions in 2021 to COMSEP membership about the Journal Club through the COMSEP Annual Survey which is sent out to the entire membership. Survey questions asked members how many times per year they read the content, how many reviews they have submitted, what factors impact members’ experience submitting reviews, and what are members perceived benefits from and barriers to participation as a reviewer. The authors’ questions were submitted and completed a blinded peer review process and pilot testing prior to inclusion in the survey.

What were the results?

Of the COMSEP members who completed the survey (n=126; 27% response rate), 92% read the Journal Club, with 38% of those reading it most months/always, and 49% reading the entire review. The most common motivating factors for reading included interesting topics (83%), keeping up to date (80%), and gaining practical tips (42%). The most common motivating factors for writing reviews included keeping up to date (74%), contribution to COMSEP (74%), and developing a skill in analyzing literature (68%). The greatest barriers to writing reviews were lack of time (86%) and lack of confidence in analyzing literature (39%).

How can I apply this to my work in education?

The COMSEP Journal Club is an effective way to disseminate the latest evidence in medical education to members and for pediatric educators to build a community of practice. Its platform as an asynchronous online national Journal Club is unique, providing accessibility and the ability for educators to incorporate engagement (both as readers and reviewers) into busy schedules. Also notable is the COMSEP Annual Survey as an accessible option to collect data from medical educators to be used for scholarship.

Editor’s Comments: Thanks for the shout out and we were pleased to know that COMSEP members find the short & snappy format of the Journal Club to be of value! The COMSEP Journal Club wouldn’t be possible without the many contributions of COMSEP members who write reviews, and without the amazing leadership of those who have come before us in developing the Journal Club into what it is today. And on that note…if anyone is interested in helping out and writing a review for a future edition to contribute to our virtual community of practice…please contact us as we are always looking for reviewers!  (KFo)