Learning Objectives

Pearls

  1. Learning objectives inform learners about what they should achieve after engaging in a learning activity to demonstrate competence.
  2. Learning objectives should be in the future tense, relate to explicit statements of achievement, always contain action verbs and be easily understood.
  3. Incorporate learning objectives from each of the three domains of Bloom's taxonomy- cognitive, affective and psychomotor- and aim for the highest order of function.
  4. Write SMART learning objectives: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Reasonable, and Time-bound.
  5. To write an objective: State the condition, Specify the audience, Select the appropriate action verb, and Specify criteria for evaluation.

Additional Resources

» Learning Objectives Summary (PDF)


Writing and Working with Cases

PEARLS

  1. Cases are descriptions of real world scenarios you can use to help students learn how to approach problems in the way a clinician would.
  2. The first step in writing a case is to write learning objectives describing what you want learners to know or be able to do after working through the case.
  3. You can create cases for different learning approaches: problem based learning (students lead the learning activities), case based learning (instructors guide the learning activities), or team based learning (the emphasis is on collaborative learning). 
  4. Cases should be difficult enough to hold students’ interest and motivate them to learn – but not so difficult as to be frustrating.
  5. Personal experience or that of a colleague can be very helpful to make the case realistic and to attach some humanness to the case.
  6. Plan how you’ll work through the case with your students.
  7. It’s helpful to have answer keys ready to distribute after class (or online) so students aren’t frustrated if the group doesn’t get through all of the material.

Additional Resources

» Writing and Working with Cases Summary (PDF)


Preparing Test Items

Pearls

  1. Test items should map to specific course objectives and should focus on important concepts.
  2. Items should assess application of knowledge, not recall of isolated facts.
  3. Item stem/lead-ins must pose clear and focused questions.
  4. Avoid trivial or overly tricky/complex questions.
  5. Avoid technical flaws that cue students to the correct answer, or introduce irrelevant difficulty.

Additional Resources

» Multiple Choice Question Test Item Construction (PDF)
» NBME - Item Writing (link)
» NBME U - Online Lessons on Assessment Principles (link)


Verbal Feedback for Continuous Learning

Pearls

  1. Establish feedback as an expected, frequent educational routine
  2. Link feedback to the learners’ goals and to external objectives
  3. Observe with efficiency—short, targeted observations for data collection
  4. Focus on specific, modifiable behaviors
  5. Conduct timely conversations
  6. Utilize ADAPT: Ask–Discuss–Ask–Plan Together
  7. Plan future performance improvements

Additional Resources

» Verbal Feedback Tips (PDF)


Written Feedback for Continuous Learning

PEARLS

  1. Be timely with written feedback
  2. Consider the learning outcomes and expectations of both the program and the learner
  3. Begin with a brief summary
  4. Focus on no more than three areas of improvement
  5. Include reasonable detail for the learner to act on
  6. Echo what has already been discussed verbally
  7. Create a balance between appreciating, coaching and evaluating
  8. Suggest a plan for improvement with the learner

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

» Pearls for Written Feedback (PDF)
» Written Feedback Tips


Learner Centered Teaching

PEARLS

  1. Learner centered teaching is an approach that seeks to develop independent learners by encouraging students to become aware of how they are learn and to make learning skills something they want to develop.
  2. Learner centered teachers are guided by 2 questions: “How can I best promote learning?” and “How can I balance guidance and independence?”
  3. The critical features of learning can be grouped into Skill (content), Will (motivation) and Meta-skill (learning strategies).
  4. The goal of education should be shifting students’ expectations for external guidance (from the teacher) to achieving self-guidance (by the student alone).
  5. We can balance the friction between guidance and independence through shared guidance - maintaining a dialogue with students that allows us to adapt our instruction to their individual needs.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

» Orienting Teaching Toward the Learning Process (PDF)


Practical Tips for Facilitating Small Groups

EARLS—Getting Ready

  1. Show students you are invested in them as individuals
  2. Demonstrate enthusiasm for your material
  3. Prepare class materials and your plan to navigate the material ahead of time
  4. Organize your room to foster discussion and collaboration
  5. Set expectations with your group
 

Pearls—Managing the Classroom

  1. Facilitate discussion rather than lecturing
  2. Redirect questions you receive to the group
  3. Plan questions and questioning strategies
  4. Allow students ample time to respond to your questions
  5. “The Dominating Student”: Redirect, avoid engaging, reiterate all expected to participate, meet privately
  6. “The Quiet Student”: Ask a question you know they know, pair-share, reinforce contributions, meet privately
  7. Plan use of the white board—sketch it out—use a “parking lot”, note key points.
  8. Ask students for feedback before the end of the course.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

» Facilitating Small Groups—Summary (PDF)