2014 Winter: Practical Applications of Active Learning

We complain that students don’t come to class anymore. Our students complain that attending lectures is not a productive use of their time. Our accreditation bodies stress the importance of active learning and ensuring that our students become life-long learners. Educational experts have told us that a lecture by a “sage on the stage” is neither active learning nor good pedagogy. At our conferences and through the media we hear about colleagues that use flipped classrooms to promote active learning and increase student performance and attendance. We have heard the hype, but what is the reality? We are now beginning to explore, at different levels of application, subtle and major differences in approaches to active and engaged learning. This webcast series will provide a framework for understanding and distinguishing between the various definitions and perspectives on active and engaged learning and will detail specific practical applications in the modern classroom. Our first session will explore the definitions of active and engaged learning from the perspectives of one of our accrediting bodies and the faculty. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredits, North American allopathic medical schools and “active learning” is a specific LCME accreditation standard (ED-5-A). The second perspective is the faculty member facing the reality of satisfying ED-5-A while balancing the realities of decreased teaching time, sparse classroom lecture attendance, and the uncertainty of the impact of these changes on student outcomes. In this example, ED-5-A changes the role of a faculty member from content provider to synthesizer and facilitator. Lessons learned from trying to understand and comply with this accreditation standard in medical education have practical applications to all health professions as active and engaged learning gets more and more attention. We follow with the challenges that face faculty and students as they engage in active learning. A subsequent session will present faculty experiences and lessons learned on getting started “from scratch” on these initiatives. Our following three sessions will focus on specific curricula and approaches for flipping the classroom (without flopping!), application of active learning approaches to large classrooms, and advantages and disadvantages of massive open online courses (MOOCs) in health science education.

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January 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm

How Medical Schools Operationalize LCME Accreditation Expectations for Self-Directed and Active Learning

Presenter: George Dambach and Donna Waechter

George DambachDr. Dambach joined the College of Medicine in 2006 from the FIU Division of Sponsored Research where he was the Vice President for Research, helping to expand the university’s research capacity. Prior to FIU, Dr. Dambach served as the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Wayne State University. He held numerous administrative posts in the Wayne State University School of Medicine including Associate Dean for Research, Director of Graduate Programs and Assistant Dean for Medical Education. He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Ohio State University and held postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Internal Medicine, Philadelphia General Hospital, and in the Department of Pharmacology and the Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. He brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in medical education and life sciences research to the College of Medicine.


Donna WaechterDonna Waechter, PhD currently serves as LCME Assistant Secretary and Senior Director, LCME Surveys and Team Training at the Association of American Medical Colleges. She is responsible for working with deans of medical schools to establish timing of accreditation survey visits, selection of team members for those visits, initial and ongoing training of LCME survey team members, identification and training of new team secretaries, staffing of the LCME Standards Subcommittee, creating case-based training modules for team member workshops, and managing webinar training events. Prior to becoming the LCME Assistant Secretary in 2012, Dr. Waechter worked for 28 years in a medical school setting, first as an assistant dean of students, and later as an associate dean of medical education.

The current definitions of active vs. engaged learning from the perspective of the LCME will be presented by Dr. Waechter. Examples of how LCME expectations are operationalized by several medical schools will be presented by Dr. Dambach. The webinar will include a question and answer segment for participants.

Seminar Archive
January 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Approaches to Active Learning; Two Medical Schools Make a Start

Presenter: Michael Parmely and Susan Ely

Michael ParmelyDr. Parmely has been involved in medical education since joining the KU Faculty in 1977. He directed the microbiology and immunology preclinical courses in the medical school for over 10 years and has received numerous teaching awards, including the Ruth Bohan Teaching Professor and Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching awards. His research deals with immune responses to the intracellular bacterial pathogen Francisella tularensis.


Susan Ely, Ph.D. joined the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine as Professor of Basic Science in 2011. Her roles include teaching immunology, directing academic blocks for both the first and second year curricula, and serving as a Problem-based Learning (PBL) facilitator. Before relocating to Virginia, Dr. Ely spent 19 years as a member of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University.

This session outlines experiences at two medical schools currently introducing student-centered active learning in lieu of traditional didactic methods.

Since 2010 the University of Kansas Medical Center has been developing a program designed to augment student problem-solving skills with an emphasis on case-based classroom analysis and discussion. In 2013, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine began providing pre-recorded curricular content as a foundation for classroom synthesis sessions in which instructors asked students to expand on and integrate information in the context of clinical scenarios.

An essential component of these programs at both institutions is the emphasis on student-identified learning objectives. Both presenters will highlight challenges and successes encountered as each school travels towards more engaged student-directed learning

Seminar Archive
January 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm

A Pedagogically Driven Redesign to Fulfill Medical Education’s Social Contract

Presenter: Catherine Lucey

Catherine LuceyDr. Lucey, a board certified internist and geriatrician, is Vice Dean for Education at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. Previously, she was the interim Dean, College of Medicine, Vice Dean for Education at the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Medicine and Associate Vice President for Health Sciences Education for the OSU Office of Health Sciences. She is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Lucey was a Clinical Instructor at Harvard University School of Medicine, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas, San Antonio, and Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, before joining Ohio State as Associate Professor of Medicine in 2002. She was promoted to Professor of Internal Medicine in 2005. She has won numerous teaching awards and has given more than 200 invited presentations at national meetings and academic institutions across the country. Her areas of expertise include professionalism, clinical reasoning, educational technology and leadership.  Her recent MOOC on clinical problem solving attracted thousands of students and faculty around the world. She is a coauthor on the book: Understanding Medical Professionalism (McGraw Hill), to be released 4/1/14.

A Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Dr. Lucey also is a prior council member for both the Society of General Internal Medicine and the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine.

Dr. Lucey earned her medical degree from the Northwestern University School of Medicine, and completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco before serving as chief resident in internal medicine at the San Francisco General Hospital.

There has been a growing recognition that our health care system is struggling. Despite spending over $2.5 trillion per year on health care, the US still ranks 16th amongst 17 peer countries in health outcomes. Medical education and medical educators must collaborate with clinical and research experts to better prepare our physicians to be a part of the solution.

This presentation will describe the origin of and strategies for implementing the UCSF Bridges Curriculum. Our overarching goal is to train physician leaders who continue to excel as researchers and clinicians as well as understand and improve the complex system in which they work. Our curriculum will prepare students to 1) Collaborate more effectively; 2) Innovate within complex systems; and 3) Create new models of care to take our health system to the next level.

To do this, the Bridges curriculum will provide authentic workplace learning experiences that leverage the talents and commitment of our students to improve health today while sustaining these skills in future practice.


Outline the differences between pedagogical and design based curriculum redesign strategies.

  • Contrast the different knowledge and skills needed by successful physicians in the 21st century with those needed in the 20th century.
  • Apply principles of authentic workplace learning and communities of practice to an outcomes based curriculum redesign project.
  • Consider how technology can facilitate this transformation
Seminar Archive
January 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Practical Tips for Active Learning in Large Scale Classrooms

Presenter: Kathryn Huggett and William Jeffries

Kathryn HuggettKathryn N. Huggett is Assistant Dean for Medical Education, Director of Medical Education Development and Assessment, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska.  She directs medical education research activities and works with faculty to promote educational scholarship. She was responsible for the development of an intensive summer faculty development program for health sciences faculty, and directs this program and other activities to improve educational quality.  In addition, she teaches medical and graduate students, oversees course and program evaluation, and participates in the management of the curriculum. She currently serves as co-chair of the Interprofessional Education Steering Committee and teaches in the interdisciplinary Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) Program in Leadership, both at Creighton University.

Dr. Huggett has worked in medical education since 1992.  She is a former President of the Society of Directors of Research in Medical Education (SDRME) and the society’s current representative to the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). She also serves on the planning committee for the Medical Education Research Certificate (MERC) program for the AAMC.  Her most recent publications address academic program quality, curricular innovation, and interprofessional education. She is co-editor of the book, An Introduction to Medical Teaching, and is currently working on the second edition.  In addition, she has conducted research and published in the areas of medical school admissions, preparation for Graduate Medical Education, undergraduate honors education, and professional development.


William JeffriesWilliam Jeffries, Ph.D., F.A.H.A, is the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education and Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Prior to that he served as the Associate Dean for Medical Education and Director of Academic Computing at Creighton University School of Medicine. He has taught medical, graduate and other health sciences students continuously since 1981.

Dr. Jeffries has over one hundred research and medical education publications and has conducted numerous faculty development workshops and presentations on various aspects of medical education. He is an active Board Member of IAMSE, a Fellow of the American Heart Association and a Past Chair of the Division for Pharmacology Education of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. He is co-editor of the book, an Introduction to Medical Teaching. His current interests include incorporation of active learning and technology into the medical curriculum, implementation strategies for curricular change and novel ways to teach clinical competency.

The one hour lecture remains the traditional unit of medical education, particularly for the foundational sciences. A number of factors contribute to the preeminence of the lecture: it is an efficient way to accomplish the goal of knowledge transfer to the student, it is the easiest and most familiar format for students and faculty, and is the most economically feasible mechanism for the college to accomplish its teaching goals. However, it is generally agreed that most lectures limit engagement and therefore promote only “passive” learning and do not promote long-term retention. Medical educators have thus been investigating techniques to promote active learning, which promotes longer term retention and deeper understanding of scientific concepts. In active learning, the student often participates as a partner in the teaching and learning of the group as a whole.

A variety of active learning techniques have emerged as a way to expand the boundaries of learning within the confines of the traditional large group setting.

In this IAMSE web audio seminar we will discuss the learning principles behind active learning and reasons for incorporating these concepts in their large group teaching. The session will then demonstrate environmental and psychological factors that influence learning and enable participants to develop techniques to use these factors to increase learning and retention. Finally, classroom techniques that can increase engagement, learning and retention in both traditional lecture and flipped settings will be discussed.

Seminar Archive
February 6, 2014 at 12:00 am

MOOCS and Health Sciences Education: Hype or Disruption?

Presenter: Natalie Lafferty

Natalie Lafferty is Director of Technology in Learning at the College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing at the University of Dundee. She also leads the Technology and Innovation in Learning Team, which supports lecturers and clinical teachers to apply technology to enhance and support teaching and learning. Previously she was the Chief Operations Officer for the International Virtual Medical School collaboration in elearning in medical education and worked at the Centre for Medical Education in Dundee.

Natalie LaffertyIn addition to the development of online learning resources to support the undergraduate curriculum, Natalie has a particular interest in the design and usability of online learning environments in undergraduate medical education. She is also interested in the role that Web 2.0 technologies can play in enhancing teaching and learning and helping students to become producers of learning and develop personalised learning environments that support lifelong learning and a keen advocate of free open access medical education – #FOAMed. Natalie co-leads the #ukmeded Twitter chat and is @nlafferty on Twiiter. She also blogs about technology in medical education and her own experiences of using technologies including on MOOCs at http://mededelearning.wordpress.com/.

In educational circles 2013 was labelled the year of the MOOC – the massive open online course. It was the year that MOOCs were set to go main stream and Udacity, Coursera and edX were constantly in the news attracting ever higher numbers of students on to their courses. MOOCS were going to disrupt education, there was talk of only 10 universities existing in 50 year’ time and academics, including in the health sciences, became concerned about the potential for their departments to close and in turn lose their jobs. By the end of the year however, the positivity around MOOCs was beginning to wane. Column inches turned to news of low completion rates, poor pedagogy and MOOCs nearing the peak of the hype cycle.

This presentation will explore the evolution of MOOCs and the role they might play in the future of health science education. Do they have the potential to disrupt or are we just witnessing hype at play? We will look at the different approaches to MOOCs and means of accrediting learning on them such as certificates of completion for which there is a fee and open badges. We will also consider whether we might see MOOCs accredited as part of health science/professions degrees or for CME? Finally the session will discuss whether MOOC type approaches might offer new opportunities to innovate in teaching and learning that also support inter-professional learning and help our students to develop skills for lifelong learning.