What if everything we think we know about how to learn is wrong? To improve ourselves, we really need to understand what does and doesn’t help us really learn new things. Dr. Justin Kreuter gets this, and he’s here to show all of us (not just those currently in training!) how we can get information into and out of our brains effectively!
How do you learn?
If you’re like me, you might think that attending formal lectures or webinars is a crucial step on the pathway to knowledge (even if they totally stink!). Further, you have probably spent tons of time slogging through painful articles or textbook chapters. You might even have developed your own customized highlighting system that leaves things you have read looking multicolored and snazzy! After you do any these things, you might think, “I have REALLY accomplished something today!”
The Bad News
Sadly, as Dr. Kreuter outlines for us in this timely and fast-paced interview, approaches like that do not work very well! The research is clear: The “old” ways are simply not effective in leading to long-term retention, and more importantly, to mastery of the material so you can actually use it in real life (and isn’t that what learning is all about?).
The Good News
While learning science is clear on what does not work, it’s also giving us some answers on what DOES work! We are starting to better understand what our brains need in order to process and retrieve information in a more clear and effective manner. Education of all sorts, including medical education, is changing quickly! Justin is passionate about these changes, and he is here to help you and I become better learners!
Justin Kreuter, MD (@KreuterMD) completed his anatomic and clinical pathology residency at Dartmouth and went on to do a Transfusion Medicine fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where he is now on-staff. Dr. Kreuter’s clinical responsibilities include the blood donor program and HLA laboratory. His research is focused on medical education and improving management of patients who are refractory to platelet transfusion. He is a leader in improving education in transfusion medicine by innovative methods, including helping to develop creative visual projects such as the crazy-fun “Transfusion Toons” cartoon series by Theresa Malin, MLS(ASCP)CM (@TMalinMLS). Seriously, stop what you are doing and go look at Transfusion Toons right now!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this episode are those of my guest and I alone, and do not reflect those of the organizations with which either of us is affiliated. Neither Dr. Kreuter nor I have any relevant financial disclosures.
The image below, which summarizes this episode, was created by Theresa Malin MLT(ASCP)CM (@TMalinMLS). Click the image for a larger, downloadable version.
Take the quiz and see what you learned!
Resources Recommended by Dr. Kreuter:
- Great NEJM article released just after this podcast: Schwartzstein RM and Roberts DH. Saying Goodbye to Lectures in Medical School — Paradigm Shift or Passing Fad? N Engl J Med 2017; 377:605-607
- Free e-book: Education Theory Made Practical, Volume 1
- Video explaining flipped classrooms: Blended Learning and Flipped Classroom
- Helpful website: The Learning Scientists
- Article on “reflective practice”: Maestre JM et al. The making of expert clinicians: Reflective practice. Rev Clin Esp. 2014;214:216-220
- Article on learning theory: Schumacher DJ et al. Developing the Master Learner: Applying Learning Theory to the Learner, the Teacher, and the Learning Environment. Acad Med. 2013;88:1635–1645
- Doctors and Learning Styles: Armstrong E et al. How Can Physicians’ Learning Styles Drive Educational Planning? Acad Med. 2005;80:680-684
- Applying learning science to health professions education: Gooding HC et al. Twelve tips for applying the science of learning to health professions education. Medical Teacher 2017;39:26-31
- Book: Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown et al (NOTE: Not an affiliate link; I get no financial benefit if you buy)
- Book: Self-directed Learning by Malcolm Knowles (NOTE: Not an affiliate link; I get no financial benefit if you buy)