Advancing Medical Education: the new series of AMEE guides in medical education

amee_newguides.jpg  A new series of AMEE guides (Association for Medical Education in Europe) launches with the current issue of Medical Teacher:

Gibbs T. Advancing Medical Education: the new series of AMEE guides in medical education. Medical Teacher 2007; 29(6):525-526.  See also AMEE Medical Education Guides, 1-29

Excerpt: To capture an ever increasing body of interested parties, from various healthcare educators from around the world, the new AMEE guides will be for:

  • the practising teacher who wants information about teaching methods, assessment, curriculum planning and other issues in medical education;
  • the reflective teacher who wishes to review his/her contribution to medical education and compare it with that of others in the field;
  • the teacher/researcher who wishes to learn more about a topic as a stimulus to further studies, research and evaluation;
  • institutions who wish to add to their library resources relating to medical education, and to have materials available to support local staff development initiatives;
  • students who wish access to a source of information about current approaches and methods in medical education, recognising the trend to involve students in the teaching process.

In order to address these needs, the new Guides will:

  • be practical and up to date, providing information on current approaches to a range of issues relating to the day-to-day work of the medical teacher;
  • be equally useful to those new to medical education, whilst, by encouraging reflective thought, be stimulating to those experienced in the speciality;
  • adopt a seamless approach to medical education, recognizing the similarities in process between undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational training and continuing professional development;
  • keep medical education as a primary target, but be of relevance to other healthcare professions’ education;
  • incorporate underpinning theory where this is relevant and contribute to an understanding of the more practical aspects of education. Each guide will have a purposeful and relevant bibliography;
  • reflect an international perspective of the topic and not be seen as relating only to a particular institutional or geographical context. The transference of approaches to teaching and learning into an international arena of diverse cultures, race and religions will be addressed;
  • be living documents capturing the views and experiences of those engaged in the specialty by inviting their contributions to the guides. This unique feature will be achieved through the publication of supplements to the guides online and in printed format, incorporating additional material, constructive comment and a wider viewpoint.

Here are the guides in this new series:

Ross MT, Cameron HS. Peer assisted learning: a planning and implementation framework: AMEE Guide no. 30. Med Teach 2007; 29(6):527-545. [subscription required]
Abstract: Much has been written about the benefits and applications of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) in the literature. Curriculum developers increasingly consider PAL as a vehicle to help undergraduate healthcare students learn to teach; an outcome which has received more attention in the UK since the General Medical Council stated in Tomorrow’s Doctors that medical graduates must ‘Be able to demonstrate appropriate teaching skills’.

This guide is primarily designed to assist curriculum developers, course organisers and educational researchers develop and implement their own PAL initiatives. It is structured around a PAL planning framework consisting of 24 questions. The questions are grouped in threes, around eight themes. Each question is discussed with reference to the PAL literature and other related subjects, and is exemplified by responses from a recent PAL project developed at The University of Edinburgh. Working through the 24 questions, particularly with discussion in a small planning group, will enable readers to efficiently develop their ideas for PAL into comprehensive and practical project plans cognisant of current educational theory, existing PAL literature and the local context.

The framework is particularly suitable for those who want to develop healthcare undergraduate PAL initiatives yet have little or no experience of PAL, as it provides an introduction to the relevant literature field and a step-by-step process for the design and implementation of such projects. It will also be of interest to those with experience of PAL and those seeking a structured framework for planning non-PAL curriculum developments in undergraduate healthcare curricula. 

Norcini J, Burch V. Workplace-based assessment as an educational tool: AMEE Guide No. 31. Med Teach 2007; 29(9):855-871.
BACKGROUND: There has been concern that trainees are seldom observed, assessed, and given feedback during their workplace-based education. This has led to an increasing interest in a variety of formative assessment methods that require observation and offer the opportunity for feedback.
AIMS: To review some of the literature on the efficacy and prevalence of formative feedback, describe the common formative assessment methods, characterize the nature of feedback, examine the effect of faculty development on its quality, and summarize the challenges still faced.
RESULTS: The research literature on formative assessment and feedback suggests that it is a powerful means for changing the behaviour of trainees. Several methods for assessing it have been developed and there is preliminary evidence of their reliability and validity. A variety of factors enhance the efficacy of workplace-based assessment including the provision of feedback that is consistent with the needs of the learner and focused on important aspects of the performance. Faculty plays a critical role and successful implementation requires that they receive training.
CONCLUSIONS: There is a need for formative assessment which offers trainees the opportunity for feedback. Several good methods exist and feedback has been shown to have a major influence on learning. The critical role of faculty is highlighted, as is the need for strategies to enhance their participation and training.

Ellaway R, Masters K. AMEE Guide 32: e-Learning in medical education Part 1: Learning, teaching and assessment. Med Teach 2008; 30(5):455-473.
Abstract: In just a few years, e-learning has become part of the mainstream in medical education. While e-learning means many things to many people, at its heart it is concerned with the educational uses of technology. For the purposes of this guide, we consider the many ways that the information revolution has affected and remediated the practice of healthcare teaching and learning. Deploying new technologies usually introduces tensions, and e-learning is no exception. Some wish to use it merely to perform pre-existing activities more efficiently or faster. Others pursue new ways of thinking and working that the use of such technology affords them. Simultaneously, while education, not technology, is the prime goal (and for healthcare, better patient outcomes), we are also aware that we cannot always predict outcomes. Sometimes, we have to take risks, and ‘see what happens.’ Serendipity often adds to the excitement of teaching. It certainly adds to the excitement of learning. The use of technology in support of education is not, therefore, a causal or engineered set of practices; rather, it requires creativity and adaptability in response to the specific and changing contexts in which it is used. Medical Education, as with most fields, is grappling with these tensions; the AMEE Guide to e-Learning in Medical Education hopes to help the reader, whether novice or expert, navigate them. This Guide is presented both as an introduction to the novice, and as a resource to more experienced practitioners. It covers a wide range of topics, some in broad outline, and others in more detail. Each section is concluded with a brief ‘Take Home Message’ which serves as a short summary of the section. The Guide is divided into two parts. The first part introduces the basic concepts of e-learning, e-teaching, and e-assessment, and then focuses on the day-to-day issues of e-learning, looking both at theoretical concepts and practical implementation issues. The second part examines technical, management, social, design and other broader issues in e-learning, and it ends with a review of emerging forms and directions in e-learning in medical education.

Masters K, Ellaway R. e-Learning in medical education Guide 32 Part 2: Technology, management and design. Med Teach 2008; 30(5):474-489.
Abstract: With e-learning now part of the medical education mainstream, both educational and practical technical and informatics skills have become an essential part of the medical teacher’s portfolio. The Guide is intended to help teachers develop their skills in working in the new online educational environments, and to ensure that they appreciate the wider changes and developments that accompany this ‘information revolution’. The Guide is divided into two parts, of which this is the second. The first part introduced the basic concepts of e-learning, e-teaching, and e-assessment, the day-to-day issues of e-learning, looking both at theoretical concepts and practical implementation issues. This second part covers topics such as practical knowledge of the forms of technology used in e-learning, the behaviours of teachers and learners in online environments and the design of e-learning content and activities. It also deals with broader concepts of the politics and psychology of e-learning, as well as many of its ethical, legal and economical dimensions, and it ends with a review of emerging forms and directions in e-learning in medical education.

Davis N, Davis D, Bloch R. Continuing medical education: AMEE Education Guide No 35. Medical Teacher 2008; 30(7):652–666.
This guide is designed to provide a foundation for developing effective continuing medical education (CME) for practicing physicians. For the purposes of this work, continuing medical education is defined as any activity which serves to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession (American Medical Association 2007; Accreditation Council for CME 2007). The term continuing professional development (CPD) is broader and has become more popular in many areas of the world. As defined by Stanton and Grant, CPD includes educational methods beyond the didactic, embodies concepts of self-directed learning and personal development and considers organizational and systemic factors (Stanton & Grant 1997). In fact, this guide describes many modalities that may be defined as CME or CPD. In the interest of simplicity, we will use the term continuing medical education (CME) throughout, with the understanding that the same strategies may be applied to non-clinical continuing professional education.

For those who do not work exclusively in CME, many terms and processes may be unfamiliar. This guide is intended to provide a broad overview of the discipline of CME as well as a pragmatic approach to the practice of CME. The format provides an overview of CME including history and rationale for the discipline, followed by a practical approach to developing CME activities, the management of the overall CME programme and finally, future trends. At the end of the guide you will find resources including readings, websites and professional associations to assist in the development and management of CME programmes.

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