More perception/reality gaps

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In an interesting side note to the below post: Anne Taylor-Vaisey sent her CE Yahoo Group a link to Advances in Health Sciences Education: Theory & Practice, a journal whose content is available online for free. I read one of this issue's articles, "A Controlled Trial of Active Versus Passive Learning Strategies in a Large Group Setting," that discussed the results of a controlled trial involving an after-hours residents' teaching session.

One group of randomly assigned residents got a full-hour didactic lecture, the other 30 minutes of lecture and peer-to-peer interaction (the same content was delivered to both groups). The results showed once again the gap between perception and reality:

    Both teaching methods led to improvements in residents' scores on both knowledge and attitude assessments. The amount of improvement was not statistically different between groups. Residents in the active learning session perceived themselves, and were observed to be, more engaged with the session content and each other than residents in the didactic session. Residents in the didactic session perceived greater educational value from the session compared to residents in the active session.

    Conclusions: We reduced the amount of time spent in teacher-driven content delivery by 50 percent and covered the same amount of content with no detrimental effects on knowledge acquisition or attitude enhancement. Teaching strategies that foster learner-to-learner interactions will lead to more active engagement among learners, however, these learners may value the session less. Further research is needed to explore learner perceptions of the teaching process and other outcomes of active learning in medical education.

This indicates to me that just waiting for the younger generations to come up into the CME ranks, assuming they'll be more receptive than the older docs, as many have joked about to me, may not be valid. No matter what the age of participants, if things like interactivity and learner-to-learner activities are to break through the perception barrier, now's the time to start chiseling out the bricks.

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