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Delivery of Instructional Content

Dr. Elliot Kaufman teaching students about genetics

After you have worked with your colleagues at all three campuses and instructional designers to design instructional content, the next step is to deliver it to our learners. As blocks (re)design and update curricula based on feedback, a key factor is to determine who at each campus will deliver content to learners at those campuses.

In his book called The Naked Presenter, Garr Reynolds says this about it:

“Technologies such as PowerPoint and Keynote—or new tools like Prezi—are only useful to the degree that they amplify our message, make things clearer and more memorable, and strengthen the human-to-human connection that is the basis of communication. Used well, multimedia has the power to do this. But too often presentations given with the help of multimedia suffer because the presenter puts too much energy and emphasis on the technology or visuals and not enough on making a meaningful connection with the audience.” – Reynolds; The Naked Presenter (2010).

This is available as an e-book through the UIC Library of the Health Sciences.

First up: review the standard terminology that we have developed based on evidence-based principles for content delivery. Below this table, there is a lot of additional information on this topic so remember to scroll down!

Active LearningActive learning is an approach to instruction in which students are encouraged to engage in the learning process. For example, students may engage in activities centered around writing, talking, problem solving, and/or self-reflection. Active learning stands in contrast to traditional modes of instruction in which students are passive recipients of knowledge from an expert.
Moffett, J. (2015). Twelve tips for ‘flipping’ the classroom. Medical Teacher, 37, 331-336.
AsynchronousAsynchronous content can be accessed by students at any time, 24/7. Asynchronous content typically consists of videos, graphics, readings, slide decks, discussion boards, discussion boards, and third-party apps.
Backward DesignBackward Design is a best practice instructional strategy developed by Wiggins & McTighe (2005) in which instructors and curriculum designers start by defining targeted learner outcomes. This allows instructors and curriculum designers to create appropriate assessment tools and decide what curricular content to use in order to help prepare students to reach the targeted outcomes.
Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005) Understanding by design. ASCD.
Core CaseCore Cases are longer interactive sessions (typically 2-3 hours) where students are taken through one or more clinical cases. Students are provided a patient presentation and typically develop a differential diagnosis. The case unfolds with discussion of diagnostic testing and treatment plans. Core Case sessions contain limited didactic content, are integrated activities with thematic material (HIS, HCS, PD, etc.), and basic science content is integrated with clinical content. Students are assigned mandatory preparatory material that gives them the foundational knowledge to work through the diseases and conditions found in the cases.
Flipped ClassroomThe Flipped Classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by incorporating preparatory work that students are expected to complete in advance of the session. The amount of required preparation is typically equal to the duration of the session. The majority of the class is dedicated to question-and-answer activities and didactics from faculty are kept to a minimum. Examples of the flipped classroom strategy include TBL and Core Case sessions. Sessions with only a small number of polls or questions (fewer than ~3 depending on length of session) do not qualify as a flipped classroom delivery type.
Interactive LectureAn Interactive Lecture is a session where faculty present content in a mixture of typical lecture format and application content in the form of questions or some other interactivity at regular intervals to promote student participation in their learning. For example, it is recommended that faculty incorporate a minimum of ~3 questions every 15-20 minutes when possible. There is typically preparatory work that students are expected to complete and it is contingent on the complexity of the content.
LabLabs are hands-on interactive sessions for anatomy, histology, or pathology topics. Labs may use physical specimens (cadaver dissection), virtual content (histology), or both (pathology). Labs typically have preparatory materials for students to complete that provide background for them to actively participate in their learning during lab sessions. During lab sessions, students typically identify particular organs, cells, tissues, pathologies, or structures with faculty assistance, and respond to poll questions related to content.
Learning ModulesLearning modules include curricular content that students are expected to complete on their own outside of class without an instructor present. These modules are structured and consist typically of materials created by faculty that may consist of videos (e.g., microlectures), PowerPoint slide decks, journal articles, texts, self-reflective exercises and/or formative questions. The material can also consist of other relevant high-impact e-learning such as content from Osmosis. Content in learning modules can be assessed on weekly quizzes and final exams. Estimates of time for students to complete learning modules should factor in the run time of videos as well as additional times students may require for note-taking and synthesizing information.
LectureLectures are didactic sessions that typically have no required preparatory work for students to complete. Supplementary preparatory work can be assigned to support the content of the session, but students are not required to complete it prior to the session. Unlike active learning sessions, lectures have limited discussion (occasional question and answer periods or polls). Student attendance to these sessions is typically not mandatory and content is typically recorded for students to view later.
MicrolecturesA microlecture is a brief, high-impact e-learning video that applies evidence-based multimedia principles, manages cognitive load, and promotes student engagement with the material. They are either developed by faculty or consist of pre-existing video content (e.g., YouTube video, Osmosis video, etc.) used as preparatory material for flipped classrooms or learning modules. Microlectures created by faculty are recorded in advance and are distinct from synchronous lecture capture. Microlectures may be one or more videos in a series and may include embedded questions throughout the videos for students to complete.
Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)These are high-stakes assessments based on standardized patient encounters that focus on skills of communication, history-taking, and if appropriate for the stage of learner, physical exams and clinical reasoning.
Panel DiscussionInteractive class session that allows students to learn from a variety of panelists representing different domains.
Protected Study TimeProtected study time is indicated and blocked in the calendar for students to use for their personal study time. Students can use this time as they wish to review class materials, prepare for upcoming classes, use study questions, and participate in self-care activities.
Self-directed LearningSelf-directed Learning (SDL) provides medical students the skills to self-assess their learning needs, their ability to independently identify, assess, and synthesize relevant information, and to appraise the credibility of information resources throughout the curriculum. An example of SDL: students receive individualized feedback from faculty, supervisors, and academic learning specialists on their information-seeking to hone their self-directed learning skills.
SimulationPlanned activities using the simulation center, tele-simulation, or faculty facilitators to allow students to demonstrate clinical skills.
Small GroupStudents will work in small groups with dedicated near-peer (M4) and/or faculty tutors in a longitudinal manner over the course of Phase 1 curriculum. During this time, small group sessions may include case discussions, history taking, physical exam demonstrations and practice, clinical reasoning skills, case presentations and write-ups, team work, and regular feedback and assessment. Certain physical exams and standardized patient encounters will be done in a format that is focused on demonstration and practice during the small group session.
Small group sessions can be held in virtual, in-person, or hybrid formats (e.g., a blend of synchronous virtual and in-person).
Standardized Patient (SP) EncounterStudents have clinical encounters with standardized patients (SPs) through the simulation center. Encounters will have specific clinical tasks for the learners, which may include history-taking, physical exam, or advanced communication skills, as well as potential post-encounter debriefing and/or documentation. SP encounters can be done virtually (e.g., telehealth) or in-person, and it will be specified if these are individual or in small groups.
SynchronousSynchronous content must be accessed at a specified time. In online programs that offer live classes, the live classes are synchronous content. Live classes are typically recorded so students can watch them later.
Team-Based LearningTBL is a form of structured collaborative learning that includes preparatory work that students need to complete prior to the session. In a TBL session, there is an individual assessment (Individual Readiness Assessment Test or IRAT) and a team assessment (Team Readiness Assessment Test or TRAT) that students need to complete. After the IRAT and TRAT are completed, faculty debrief the content with students. The debrief period is a guided discussion. TBL sessions end with an application exercise in which teams discuss complex concepts, choose from among multiple choice responses, and then support the reasoning behind their answer choices. Faculty guide teams in their discussion and debrief application exercises with students so that a summary statement is provided. TBL sessions are typically 3 hours in duration.

Take a look at some of the guidelines we have put together for delivering curricular content. Click on each of the bars below to expand the topics.

Modalities of Instruction Heading link

Here, we discuss different modalities for instruction. In the seminal book Curriculum Development for Medical Education, edited by Thomas, Kern, Hughes, and Chen (3rd ed, 2016), there is an informative section on matching educational methods to objectives. Here is an excerpt.

Many of these same educational methods can be found below in more detail.

Expand each section by clicking on the title.