Applying Adult Learning Practices in Medical Education
Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care
The application of the best practices of teaching adults to the education of adults in medical education settings is important in the process of transforming learners to become and remain effective physicians. Medical education at all levels should be designed to equip physicians with the knowledge, clinical skills, and professionalism that are required to deliver quality patient care. The ultimate outcome is the health of the patient and the health status of the society. In the translational science of medical education, improved patient outcomes linked directly to educational events are the ultimate goal and are best defined by rigorous medical education research efforts. To best develop faculty, the same principles of adult education and teaching adults apply. In a systematic review of faculty development initiatives designed to improve teaching effectiveness in medical education, the use of experiential learning, feedback, effective relationships with peers, and diverse educational methods were found to be most important in the success of these programs. In this article, we present 5 examples of applying the best practices in teaching adults and utilizing the emerging understanding of the neurobiology of learning in teaching students, trainees, and practitioners. These include (1) use of standardized patients to develop communication skills, (2) use of online quizzes to assess knowledge and aid self-directed learning, (3) use of practice sessions and video clips to enhance significant learning of teaching skills, (4) use of case-based discussions to develop professionalism concepts and skills, and (5) use of the American Academy of Pediatrics PediaLink as a model for individualized learner-directed online learning. These examples highlight how experiential leaning, providing valuable feedback, opportunities for practice, and stimulation of self-directed learning can be utilized as medical education continues its dynamic transformation in the years ahead.
School of Medicine