Medical Council of Canada

Research in Clinical Assessment grant recipients (2011-2012) — Maria Mylopoulos

Research in Clinical Assessment grant recipients (2011-2012) — Maria Mylopoulos

Research in Clinical Assessment grant recipients (2011-2012) — Maria Mylopoulos

Developing and Assessing ‘Preparation for Future Learning’ in Medical Students

Investigator

Mylopoulos, M.

Co-Investigator

Woods, N.

Abstract

In the broader education literature, the construct of “preparation for future learning” (PFL) has been proposed as a crucial standard of performance underpinning the development of the ability to be innovative in practice. PFL is defined as the ability to learn new information from available resources, relate new learning to past experiences and demonstrate innovation and flexibility in problem solving. Importantly, developing and assessing PFL has required a shift in the way that education researchers think about instruction and testing. Traditional instruction and testing cycles focus on acquisition of knowledge flowed by a “sequestered problem solving” (SPS) assessment. A PFL instruction and testing cycle instead focuses on providing instruction that will support the ability of students to learn new information and tackle novel problems in the testing phase. The challenge lies in developing instructional strategies and materials that best support this form of learning and designing tests that can make visible the developing PFL ability. As a first step in addressing this challenge for medical education, the purpose of this research project is to compare the efficacy of basic science instruction versus clinical-focused instruction for the development of PFL. The study will employ a “double test design”, to determine whether a PFL assessment can reveal differences in the ability of students trained using clinical-focused instruction versus basic science instruction that are undetected by an SPS assessment. Although testing in medical education traditionally employs an SPS approach, we propose that the inclusion of the PFL perspective will result in assessment techniques that can better determine which educational practices (e.g. basic science instruction) are best able to prepare students to be innovative and flexible in their future problem solving. This new perspective on instruction and assessment has the potential to challenge our notions of assessment in all areas of medical education.