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More to Half Day than Learning

Resident’s Views of the Role of Classroom-Based Learning in Graduate Medical Education Through the Lens of Academic Half Days. Chen LY et al. Academic Medicine 2015 Apr;90(4):532-8.

Reviewed by Fatima Aly

What was the study question?
What are the resident’s views and perception of the role and effectiveness of classroom teaching with respect to academic half days?

How was the study done?
The study was done using in depth focus groups. One hundred and eighty six residents from 3 residency programs were invited to participate by e-mail 1 week prior to the designated focus group. Twenty seven residents volunteered to participate. Four 1.5 hour focus groups (2 internal medicine, 1 orthopedic surgery and 1 hematology), were conducted, using open ended questions, facilitated by an unknown faculty, audio recorded then transcribed verbatim. Data was then de- identified. The volunteers received a $20 coffee gift certificate for their participation.

What were the results?

  • Knowledge acquisition was identified as the primary purpose, but only if it consolidates theory with clinical experience and/or expert clinical reasoning in a structured way.
  • Active learning and critical thinking relevant to their clinical activities was preferred.
  • Social aspects such as peer support, emotional support, community and professional identity formation, relationship building, meaningful self- assessment and how to navigate the complex hierarchical medical/specialty profession is highly valued, although not the stated purpose.
  • The concept of protected time was valued.

What are the implications of the finding?
Academic half days should be organized to complement clinical experience/patient care with classroom learning so as to facilitate organization of large amount information. Material should be organized to facilitate active learning and critical thinking through expert clinical reasoning processes. Social aspects allowing residents to identify with medicine and specific communities of practice should be acknowledged and fostered.

Editor’s note: As I consider restructuring our clerkship academic half day, I will recall the findings of this study, particularly the importance of the social aspects of academic half day (SLB).

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