Research Roundup – May 2017

This month’s Research Roundup explores the use of Twitter in exam preparation, EPAs, flipped classrooms, interprofessional learning and tips on body language for educators!


Can Twitter help students prepare for final examinations?

And the answer is…..yes! With a whole lot of caveats.

In this fascinating little paper on the use of Twitter for vet student final exams (yes, vet as in ‘bow wow’) explores the use of #VetFinals for final year students engaged in exam preparation.

Of nine sessions, 52 students tweeted at least once, averaging 12 students per session (range 6-20).

Content analysis showed that facilitators used 3 categories (general question/comment, response to students and re-tweet) and students used 4 (response to facilitator’s question, response to fellow students, asking a new question and re-tweet).

Thematic analysis revealed seven themes:

So “what was the outcome?” I hear you ask.

Well we didn’t get to find out the students’ exam results (that would have been nice!) but the conclusion was that the use of Twitter was beneficial although a lot depended on how good the facilitator was. The novelty of the medium being used in this way was a factor and there was some evidence of peer learning.

And like every other learning situation, the style wasn’t for everyone.

Read about it here.


Are all EPAs really EPAs?

EPAs are all the rage, as we know.

This commentary paper challenges the notion that all EPAs are created equal.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has identified 13 core EPAs that support EPAs at the postgraduate level for all specialties. These include for example “gathering history and performing a medical examination”.

Four EPAs were identified that did not fit the definition of an EPA as “a unit of professional practice that can be fully entrusted to a trainee, as soon as [s/he] has demonstrated the necessary competency to execute this activity unsupervised” (ten Cate et al 2015).

The four EPAs were:

The question posed was whether these EPAs are consistent with an entrustment view of unsupervised practice.

What do you think?

Read the commentary here.


Systematic review of the effectiveness of flipped classrooms in medical education

The paper reviewed 82 papers on the use of flipped classrooms in medical education.

Four key findings were:

The authors noted were that the majority of work has been carried out in undergraduate medical education and called for more studies in graduate medical education.

So publish or perish, people! If you’re doing some work in this area, get it out there!

Read it here.


International consensus statement on the assessment of interprofessional learning outcomes

Those of you who made it to the Ottowa conference in Perth in March last year may have had a hand in this!

We know there is increasing emphasis on interprofessional learning (and it was a point of contention in relation to how it could work as part of revalidation in a number of submissions) so wise heads around the world have come together in a ‘kumbayah’ moment to come up with a consensus statement (or more like a series of them actually) on how these should be assessed.

There are five sets of points of consensus around:

As a teaser for you, the outcomes one set of items is that IPL should be assessed in six domains:

Too much to report here but check out the paper here.


12 tips for effective body language for medical educators

Ok, you probably all know these but see how many of these you can guess (with some fun comments from me):

Read the serious version here

Date reviewed: 24 May 2017

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