Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Description and Effectiveness of the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) for Pediatric Clerkship Medical Students

Lynn J. Hernan,,El Paso,TX,Fatima F. Aly,,El Paso,TX,John D. Ramirez,,El Paso,TX

Background:  At our institution, clinical education is patterned on the ACGME core competencies. Since 2012, all students in the clerkship participate in a 1-week ILP module developed to address the competency of Practice-Based Learning and Improvement.  ILPs enhance awareness of deficiencies, allow ownership of learning, and lead to life-long learning (Stuart et al, 2005).  Adults learn best when actively engaged and self-directed (Knowles, et al, 2005).

Goals/Objectives: Students learn to identify deficiencies/limits in their knowledge, set learning/improvement goals, identify/perform appropriate learning activities, and evaluate their progress.

Methods:  There are 3 participants with distinct roles. The student generates a list of interests and perceived deficiencies (in knowledge or skills) and provides ideas for addressing these deficiencies. The Chief/Teaching Resident implements the ILP, and generates teaching and evaluation tools.  The Clerkship Director approves the curriculum, arranges experiences that address the student’s interest, and generates the document that spells out the specific learning objectives, evaluation methods, and schedule. 

The 3 participants meet the week before the ILP rotation to focus the goals and agree on curriculum and evaluation methods. This table lists commonly used learning strategies and evaluation methods.



Evaluation Methods

Knowledge Deficit


    1-on-1 or small group session with               Chief/Teaching Resident or Faculty

   Specific clinical experiences

   Pretest and posttest

   Presentation to other students

Skills Deficit

   1-on-1 or small group session with Chief/Teaching Resident or Faculty 

  Clinical or simulated experiences (allow practice)

  Skill testing 

Observation over time


   Specific clinical experiences or interactions

  Presentation to other students

   Reflective writings

 Results:  Of the 105 students responding to the question “Is the ILP a useful learning experience?", 86% agreed or strongly agreed.  This graph represents the effectiveness of remediating knowledge deficits in the top 5 categories identified by students.


Conclusion:  The ILP allows each student to have an individualized curriculum to address deficiencies utilizing specific learning strategies.  Since the curriculum is individualized to each student, the student is able to focus learning efforts.  Students actively participate in identifying knowledge and/or performance gaps and remediating them.