Stacey Pylman, who has a background in adult education and professional development, is supporting an effort to integrate active learning in the Shared Discovery Curriculum (SDC). Says Pylman, “A lot of research shows the active learning approach results in improved academic achievement, engagement, and a more favorable attitude toward learning, as opposed to didactic lecture.”

Faculty viewing website

Recently, Dr. Randi Stanulis and Stacey Pylman of OMERAD were asked to work with Rotational Small Group (RSG) facilitators and leads to integrate active learning strategies into their teaching. RSG faculty facilitate small group reflection among students who share a clinical rotation while in the Middle Clinical Experience (MCE). After Pylman and Stanulis met with Grand Rapids and East Lansing Rotational Small Group faculty, the demand for learning a variety of active learning strategies increased. Faculty also requested demonstrations, instructions and advice on how to implement these strategies in various forums within the SDC.

As a result, Pylman constructed an extensive list of active learning strategies such as turn-and-talk and memory matrix, with accompanying advice on how to integrate these strategies into teaching. This active learning resource can be found on the OMERAD website.

Says Pylman, “There are many different methods to use for active learning; many are described in this web resource created for medical educators. Cooperative strategies like turn-and-talk and group discussion help learners think out loud about their understanding, identify misconceptions or gaps in knowledge, and gives them an opportunity to teach the information to another person – a strategy known to help knowledge retention and deeper understanding.”

Dr. Stanulis reinforces the importance of helping clinicians build active learning into their teaching: In order to encourage all students to talk critically about their thinking, active learning strategies are necessary to incorporate within teaching. Medical education involves more than sharing experiences. Learning implies active engagement with ideas, which helps students develop strong listening and reasoning skills.”