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MANUSCRIPT: Redesign of a Large Lecture Course Into a Small-Group Learning Course

Objective. To describe the redesign of a large self-care course previously delivered in a traditional lecture format to a small-group case-based course.

Design. Prereadings and study guides were used to facilitate students’ independent learning prior to class. Large lecture classes were replaced with smaller group-based learning classes. This change in delivery format allowed students to spend the majority of class time conducting small-group learning activities, such as case studies to promote communication, problem solving, and interpersonal skills.

Assessment. Changes in course delivery were assessed over a 2-year period by comparing students’ grades and satisfaction ratings on course evaluations. A comparison of course evaluations between the class formats revealed that students were provided more opportunities to develop verbal communication skills and tackle and resolve unfamiliar problems in the revised course. The activities resulted in better overall course grades.

Conclusions. Redesigning to a small-group discussion format for a self-care course can be accomplished by increasing student accountability for acquiring factual content outside the classroom. Compared with student experiences in the previous large lecture-based class, students in the smaller-class format reported a preference for working in teams and achieved significantly better academic grades with the new course format.

via Redesign of a Large Lecture Course Into a Small-Group Learning Course.

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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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