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Tuesday, February 28 • 11:00am - 11:45am
SUNDANCE - [Oral Presentation] 2. Conceptual Frameworks: an Old Idea Helps Students Learn Cutting Edge Biomedical Science

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11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Conceptual Frameworks: an Old Idea Helps Students Learn Cutting Edge Biomedical Science 

J. Lindsley, T. Formosa, M.K. Tophman, University of Utah School of Medicine
Abstract Body: Context: First year Medical students have diverse backgrounds, making it challenging to effectively deliver introductory content in a broad range of topic areas. The traditional lecture format allows a large amount of material to be covered quickly, but this mode of delivery can encourage memorization without comprehension, resulting in poor retention. In order to address this problem for a first year medical student (MS1) course on Hematology and Cancer Biology at the University of Utah School of Medicine, we adopted David Ausubel's approach of starting each section of new material by providing an intellectual framework (which he called an Advance Organizer1) to help students appropriately structure ideas and facts. Objective: Our objective was to regularly provide a framework for students to help explain, integrate and interrelate upcoming material with content and ideas that they had previously learned. As course directors we sought to retain the value of having content experts deliver their scientific and clinical perspectives on complex topics while neither overwhelming the students nor requiring excessive dilution of the material. Key message: Providing a framework lecture at the beginning of each week of instruction has been an effective and very popular approach for structuring our integrated MS1 course. The course was organized into themes for each week ("leukemia" or "breast cancer" for example) and each framework session gave basic background on that topic and anticipated the content to be covered. Potential areas of difficulty were identified, and overarching principles of organization were explicitly provided. The general goal of these frameworks was to allow students to see the overall organization of the weekly theme so that they could securely distinguish the core concepts from the supporting details while the material was being presented. Further, a summary lecture was provided at the end of the week to help students assimilate problematic topics and resolve conflicting ideas or the different levels of emphasis provided by some experts with the level of mastery expected by the course directors. Conclusion: The framework format coupled with a summary session allowed students to extract more value from standard lectures as the intellectual structure for the topic was already in place, providing enhanced comprehension, less reliance on memorization, and greater long-term retention of core ideas. 1. Ausubel, D.P., The Use of Advance Organizers in the Learning and Retention of Meaningful Verbal Material. Journal of Educational Psychology, 1960. 51(5): p. 267-272. 

Tuesday February 28, 2017 11:00am - 11:45am

Attendees (3)