Significant learning meets two criteria: 1) learning lasts beyond the end of a course, and 2) learning has an impact on personal, professional, social or civic life. The latter suggests significant learning changes how a person thinks, feels, or acts in their lives.
During the FAME First Friday Series on April 7, a group of presenters in the fields of medicine and education discussed ways they have encountered of “Applying Significant Learning Principles in Curriculum Design.”
Larry Hurtubise, M.A., from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, pointed to backward design as the first step to developing curriculum that promotes significant learning. Matching learning objectives with teaching and learning activities and using assessment to refine those activities creates a state of continual improvement.
Assessment across an educational program, he said, combines multiple individual student assessment activities to reach an accurate judgement of mastery (as opposed to high-stakes summative testing). Moreover, program assessment is more in line with current competency-based medical education and adult learning styles.
Competency-based medical education, he argued, requires a paradigm shift from a passive learner shaped by positive and negative reinforcement to a learner who constructs his or her own understanding and knowledge of the world through experiences. This empowered learner must question how an activity helps them gain knowledge and encourages them to become self-directed, “expert” learners.
The group, who also included Claire Stewart, M.D., of Nationwide Children’s, and Brenda Roman, M.D., of Wright State’s College of Medicine, shared 12 tips for programmatic assessment taken from a 2015 article in the journal Med Teach.
- Develop a master plan for assessment.
- Develop examination regulations.
- Adopt a robust system for collecting information.
- Ensure that every low-stakes assessment provides meaningful feedback for learning.
- Provide mentoring to learners.
- Ensure trustworthy decision-making.
- Organize intermediate decision-making assessments.
- Encourage and facilitate personalized remediation.
- Monitor and evaluate the learning effect of the program and adapt.
- User the assessment process information for curriculum evaluation.
- Promote continuous interaction between stakeholders.
- Develop a strategy for implementation.
FAME is the Faculty Advancement, Mentoring, and Engagement center at the OSU’s College of Medicine.