Today, Thursday 9th of July 2015, I have the opportunity to speak to Australia’s medical students at The AMSA National Convention Melbourne 2015 about ‘Hacking Medical Education’. This post contains the resources for the talk.
What do I mean by Hacking Medical Education?
Hacking means many things – all of which apply to this talk to some extent (especially the latter):
- “gaining unauthorised access to data in a system…”
- “cut with rough or heavy blows”
- “to modify or write… in a skillful or clever way”
By medical education, I don’t only mean getting through medical school, but also (and more importantly) our lifelong path of learning in medicine.
HACK #1 Learn from Osler!
- Becoming an Oslerphile
- The Master Work is Work (unfortunately there are no shortcuts to learning!)
- “Medicine is learned at the bedside… the patient is our first, last and only true teacher” a lesson from Osler via The Breakfast Club‘s Tim Koelmeyer
- The key to learning is work, the key to work is to love it – have fun, see the comedic side of life and cultivate your inner Egerton Y. Davis!
HACK #2 Discover the hidden curriculum!
- There are three at least three ‘hidden curricula’:
- the unintended things you learn from a course
- the things you really need to know to pass the course (may be different from what is stated)
- the ‘internal’ curriculum you need to develop to be the doctor you want to be and look after the patients in front of you
- The Necessary Evil of Examinations (they are ‘rocks of offence’, however ‘assessment drives learning’)
- FCICM Exam Preparation (preparation for an exam must be exam specific, this page outlines useful approaches for the Fellowship of the College of Intensive Care Medicine; however many of the suggestions and techniques are generalisable)
- We don’t need no FOAM Curriculum (we need to develop our own ‘internal curricula’ that supplement those set for use by Universities and Colleges – FOAM resources can help here… see below!)
HACK #3 Apply cognitive science!
- Effective learning techniques are not widely taught, are not widely known and are not widely performed
- Cognitive science highlights some promising techniques, although definitive evidence of their effectiveness in the medical setting is generally lacking
- We construct knowledge, it isn’t transferred
- Use these techniques:
- retrieval practice and take advantage of the ‘test effect’ (putting things into our brains isn’t that hard, being able to retrieve it at the right time can be – practice retrieval, ideally in the context in which you want to be able remember something)
- spaced repetition (try to practice retrieval at just the time you are about to forget something to promote durable learning)
- elaboration (channel your inner 3 year-old: ask ‘why?’ and explain things to yourself and others)
- generation (test your knowledge of a topic before learning about it – ask yourself questions and try to predict what will be said before reading a section of a book or article)
- reflection (reflect on your experience – combines retrieval practice and elaboration and is a way of giving feedback to yourself)
- calibration (get objective feedback so you are not deluding yourself as a learning)
- interleaved practice (mix up problem types and topics during practice to prepare you for the real world)
- Learning by Spaced Repetition (I used software called Anki to help me remember key facts for exams)
- Effective Learning Techniques Revealed (brief summary of the techniques given the thumbs by Dunlosky et al, 2013)
- Dunlosky J, et al. Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2013; 14 (1): 4 (great review of the science of effective learning techniques)
- Brown PC, Roedinger HL, McDaniel MA. Make It Stick. Harvard University Press, 14 Apr 2014 [Google Books] (excellent popularisation of the ‘new learning science’)
- Education Theory for the #MedEd Clinician (key insights from Jonathan Sherbino, a master clinician educator)
HACK #4 Simulate!
- good patient outcomes need more than individual competence, they need collective competence – team-based simulations can help achieve this
- Hadfield, C. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. Random House of Canada, 29 Oct 2013 [Google Books]
- In situ simulation (simulation in the workplace, with real teams in the environment in which we work, rocks!)
- Simulation-based learning helps develop essential non-technical skills: Crisis Resource Management, Communication in a crisis and Speaking up
HACK #5 Join the FOAM Party!
- Why FOAM? Facts, Fallacies and Foibles (my talk providing an overview of FOAM)
- Nickson CP, Cadogan MD. Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) for the emergency physician. Emerg Med Australas. 2014;26:(1)76-83
- FOAM (Free Open-Access Meducation homepage)
- Is FOAM at fault? (FOAM is an adjunct, nothing replaces the bedside mentor!)
- RAGE podcast (the Resuscitationist’s Awesome Guide to Everything)
- INTENSIVE (the Alfred ICU’s education and knowledge translation blog)
HACK #6 Be a Critical Thinker!
- All Doctors are Jackasses (all human beings are subject to cognitive biases, metacognition and critical thinking skills can help guard against them)
- Critical thinking
- Skeptical medicine
HACK #7 Work Smarter and Get Things Done!
- EMCrit Podcast 136 – Getting Shit Done
- How I Work Smarter (a series of posts on Academic Life in Emergency Medicine where successful clinicians, researchers and medical educators share their insights)
- Learning medicine is hard work, learn to love it
- Strive for mastery, not success
It is up to us to save the worldPeter Safar