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An active learning curriculum improves fellows’ knowledge and faculty teaching skills

Authors Inra JA, Pelletier S, Kumar NL, Barnes EL, Shields HM

Received 24 February 2017

Accepted for publication 3 April 2017

Published 26 May 2017 Volume 2017:8 Pages 359—364


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Majumder

Jennifer A Inra,1,2 Stephen Pelletier,2 Navin L Kumar,1,2 Edward L Barnes,3,4 Helen M Shields1,2

1Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 3Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA; 4University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Objectives: Traditional didactic lectures are the mainstay of teaching for graduate medical education, although this method may not be the most effective way to transmit information. We created an active learning curriculum for Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) gastroenterology fellows to maximize learning. We evaluated whether this new curriculum improved perceived knowledge acquisition and knowledge base. In addition, our study assessed whether coaching faculty members in specific methods to enhance active learning improved their perceived teaching and presentation skills.
Methods: We compared the Gastroenterology Training Exam (GTE) scores before and after the implementation of this curriculum to assess whether an improved knowledge base was documented. In addition, fellows and faculty members were asked to complete anonymous evaluations regarding their learning and teaching experiences.
Results: Fifteen fellows were invited to 12 lectures over a 2-year period. GTE scores improved in the areas of stomach (p<0.001), general gastroenterology (p=0.005), esophagus (p<0.001), and small bowel (p=0.001), and the total score (p=0.001) between pre- and postimplementation of the active learning curriculum. Scores in hepatology, as well as biliary and pancreatic study, showed a trend toward improvement (p>0.05). All fellows believed the lectures were helpful, felt more prepared to take the GTE, and preferred the interactive format to traditional didactic lectures. All lecturers agreed that they acquired new teaching skills, improved teaching and presentation skills, and learned new tools that could help them teach better in the future.
Conclusion: An active learning curriculum is preferred by GI fellows and may be helpful for improving transmission of information in any specialty in medical education. Individualized faculty coaching sessions demonstrating new ways to transmit information may be important for an individual faculty member’s teaching excellence.

Keywords: active learning, fellowship, Gastroenterology Training Exam, faculty development
A letter to the editor has been received and published for this article 
A Letter to the Editor has been received and published for this article. 

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