2016

HomeProfessionalsCareer DevelopmentFellowsInnovations in Fellowship Education2016 ▶ An Alternative Curriculum for Basic Physiology Education Using Meaningful Engaged Learning
An Alternative Curriculum for Basic Physiology Education Using Meaningful Engaged Learning

Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

Program Director: M. Hossein Tcharmtchi, MD
Type of Program: Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
Abstract Authors: Fong Lam, MD; Dalia Bashir, MD; Nirica Borges, MD; and Satid Thammasitboon,MD


RATIONALE/PURPOSE
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine (PCCM) fellows are adept in applying basic physiology to understand and manage complex, critically ill patients. It is challenging to teach detailed basic science concepts to fellows who generally seek practical knowledge that can be immediately applicable to their professional needs or used to improve skills, facilitate their work, and enhance their confidence. Our fellows viewed the conventional faculty-moderated book study group for basic physiology series as a threatening atmosphere with competing priorities of learning (i.e., basic/foundational vs. clinical/practical), which also used an outdated instructional method. To respond to learners’ need for change, we formed a taskforce to develop an alternative curriculum aimed at increasing learners’ satisfaction and enhancing their acquisition of basic physiology concepts.


METHODS
Needs assessment, including surveys and focus group discussion, identified learners’ needs (i.e., content and format) as well as prescribed needs as deemed by faculty and the content outline of the American Board of Pediatrics, PCCM section. Based on the findings, we created a curriculum to foster meaningful engaged learning among PCCM fellows. More specifically, the curriculum integrated learner-driven hands-on activities, collaborative learning, case-based discussion with connections to real world and prior knowledge, and safe environment with positive learner/faculty rapport. We employed a flipped-classroom modality, in which individual learners used case-based study guides with learning objectives and key questions to plan a learning session 1-2 weeks in advance. During each session, differing levels of learners worked in small groups to create a community of inquiry. Explicit learning objectives provided senior fellows a structure to lead group discussion. Finally, the entire group of learners shared their lessons learned, and the faculty added clinical correlates. We used questionnaires to evaluate learners’ satisfaction and knowledge acquisition at the end of each session. Data were evaluated using student’s paired t-test.


RESULTS
Satisfaction scores after the first 5 sessions were as follows (5-point Likert scale, 5=best; mean ± SEM): providing a safe learning environment 4.4 ± 0.3, fostering a community of learning 4.5 ± 0.2, relevance to clinical practice 4.6 ± 0.2, and matches preferred learning style 4.6 ± 0.2. Self-reported level of understanding of 25 separate concepts rose overall from 3.4 ± 0.0 to 4.5 ± 0.0 (p<0.05). Discussion: We created a new curriculum to foster meaningful engaged learning among fellows to address key barriers to basic physiology education. Our preliminary outcomes indicated that fellows attained knowledge content and reported high satisfaction in learning.


DISCUSSION
We created a new curriculum to foster meaningful engaged learning among fellows to address key barriers to basic physiology education. Our preliminary outcomes indicated that fellows attained knowledge content and reported high satisfaction in learning.

Last Reviewed: December 2016