ABSTRACT: Improving Learning Efficiency of Factual Knowledge in Medical Education
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.
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.
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.