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ABSTRACT: Learner, Patient, and Supervisor Features Are Associated With Different Types of Cognitive Load During Procedural Skills Training

PURPOSE:
Cognitive load theory, focusing on limits of the working memory, is relevant to medical education; however, factors associated with cognitive load during procedural skills training are not well characterized. The authors sought to determine how features of learners, patients/tasks, settings, and supervisors were associated with three types of cognitive load among learners performing a specific procedure, colonoscopy, to identify implications for procedural teaching.
METHOD:
Data were collected through an electronically administered survey sent to 1,061 U.S. gastroenterology fellows during the 2014-2015 academic year; 477 (45.0%) participated. Participants completed the survey immediately following a colonoscopy. Using multivariable linear regression analyses, the authors identified sets of features associated with intrinsic, extraneous, and germane loads.
RESULTS:
Features associated with intrinsic load included learners (prior experience and year in training negatively associated, fatigue positively associated) and patient/tasks (procedural complexity positively associated, better patient tolerance negatively associated). Features associated with extraneous load included learners (fatigue positively associated), setting (queue order positively associated), and supervisors (supervisor engagement and confidence negatively associated). Only one feature, supervisor engagement, was (positively) associated with germane load.
CONCLUSIONS:
These data support practical recommendations for teaching procedural skills through the lens of cognitive load theory. To optimize intrinsic load, level of experience and competence of learners should be balanced with procedural complexity; part-task approaches and scaffolding may be beneficial. To reduce extraneous load, teachers should remain engaged, and factors within the procedural setting that may interfere with learning should be minimized. To optimize germane load, teachers should remain engaged.

via Learner, Patient, and Supervisor Features Are Associated With Different Types of Cognitive Load During Procedural Skills Training: Implications for… – 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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