Healthcare CommunicationMedical EducationSMACCThe Art of Learning Medicine: Sandra Viggers

The Art of Learning Medicine: Sandra Viggers

Sandra Viggers delves into the art of learning medicine.

Sandra asks the question: can students choreograph their own education?

On one hand, people believe students cannot choreograph their own education for various reasons. She calls such people behaviourists who push others back in line if they do not agree with their views.

Behaviourism is a top to bottom approach. The teacher is not a facilitator but an instructor. It produces MDs with knowledge that is not applicable to real life.

On the other hand, can students choreograph their own education? In educational psychology, these people are called humanists. In the humanistic approach students are active learners.

The problem with this approach is that it is dependent on intrinsic motivation. Hence, it is important to realise when the student is intrinsically or extrinsically motivated.

Sandra points out that both behaviouristic and humanist approaches fail to include the skill of reflection. While the humanist will expect the learner to self-realise reflection, the behaviourist does not even believe in the concept.

This causes the Dunning-Kruger effect, producing either over-confident or under-confident fools.

Behaviourism trains people by correcting their behaviour. They are trained to work in an ‘ideal world.’ Therefore, they often fail to perform in unpredictable settings.

The humanist approach produces people who are interested in specific topics. The solution is realising that both a humanist and behaviouristic approaches are inadequate.

Students today are independent, love to learn but do not like to be forced. Importantly, they are aware of their needs and use connectivism. Connectivism believes in learning via social interaction.

According to Sandra all these theories are flawed. She believes that the solution is adaptive expertise. We want doctors to apply their knowledge to different situations.

To achieve this, we first must challenge or question everything that we have learnt. Make students aware that there is more than one solution to a problem.

The second step is to encourage reflection. Sandra endorses adaptive expertise via transfer of learning. She wants educators to create a playground where students can play, replay, fail, try and challenge themselves.

Sandra concludes by listing what she expects from her educators. She wants us to embrace learning as bidirectional and to encourage the art of reflection.

This will help students become creative, adaptive, lean mean machines of excellence.

For more like this, head to our podcast page. #CodaPodcast

Sandra Viggers

MD anaesthesiology co-creator of @scanfoam podcaster, blogger and educator