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ABSTRACT: Improving Learning Efficiency of Factual Knowledge in Medical Education

OBJECTIVE:
The purpose of this review is to synthesize recent literature relating to factual knowledge acquisition and retention and to explore its applications to medical education.
RESULTS:
Distributing, or spacing, practice is superior to massed practice (i.e. cramming). Testing, compared to re-study, produces better learning and knowledge retention, especially if tested as retrieval format (short answer) rather than recognition format (multiple choice). Feedback is important to solidify the testing effect.
CONCLUSIONS:
Learning basic factual knowledge is often overlooked and under-appreciated in medical education. Implications for applying these concepts to smartphones are discussed; smartphones are owned by the majority of medical trainees and can be used to deploy evidence-based educational methods to greatly enhance learning of factual knowledge.

via Improving Learning Efficiency of Factual Knowledge in Medical Education. – PubMed – NCBI.

Brian S McGowan, PhD

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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