Tucked on the right-hand side of every Learning Event Page on Elentra are notations about the date & time and location of the class, followed by the length of the session and then the “Breakdown” of how the time will be spent. In other words: the learning event type.
After the last 18 months of learning event types being broadly divided into “Zoom” and “not-Zoom”, it’s worth having a look at what these notations (really) mean as we get back to more face-to-face on-campus teaching.
We use 18 learning event types* in the Queen’s UGME program. The identification of a learning event type indicates the type of teaching and learning experience to be expected at that session.
Broadly speaking, our learning event types can be divided into two categories: Content Delivery and Content Application.
For content delivery, students are presented with core knowledge and/or skills with specific direction and/or commentary from an expert teacher. Content delivery learning events include:
Independent Learning (DIL) — these are
independent learning sessions which are assigned curricular time. Typically,
students are expected to spend up to double the assigned time to complete the
tasks – i.e. some of the work may occur in “homework time”. DIL’s have a
specific structure and must include:
- Specific learning objectives
- A resource or set of resources chosen by the teacher
- Teacher guidance indicating the task or particular focus that is required of students. This may be a formal assignment, informal worksheet or study guide.
- The session must link to a subsequent content application session.
- Formative testing in the form of MCQ or reflective questions are an optional component of DILs
While students have nicknamed these “do it later”, it’s important that learners complete the assigned material prior to the related in-class sessions in order to be ready for what comes next. DILs aren’t an alternative delivery of material covered elsewhere, but essential curricular delivery.
- Lecture – Whole class session which is largely teacher-directed. We encourage the use of case illustrations during lectures, however these alone do not fulfil the criteria for content application or active learning.
- Demonstration – Session where a skill or technique is demonstrated to students.
For content application (sometimes described as “active learning”), students work in teams or individually to use and clarify previously-acquired knowledge, usually while working through case-based problems. These learning event types include:
- Small group learning (SGL): Students work in teams to solve case-base problems which are revealed progressively. Simultaneous reporting and facilitated inter-team discussion is a key component of this learning strategy which is modeled on Team-Based Learning. SGL cases may be preceded by in class readiness assessment testing (RAT) done individually and then as a team. This serves to debrief the preparation and provide for individual accountability for preparation.
- Facilitated small group learning (FSGL): Students work in teams and with a faculty tutor to solve case-base problems which are revealed progressively. While there is structure to FSGL cases, students are encouraged to seek out and share knowledge based on individual research.
- Simulation: Session where students participate in a simulated procedure or clinical encounter.
- Patient or Panel Presentation (PPP): Session where students interact with guest patients and/or health care providers who share their experience. Builds on prior learning and often includes interactive Q+A component.
- Laboratory: Hands-on or simulated exercises in which learners collect or use data to test and/or verify hypotheses or to address questions about principles and/or phenomena, such as Anatomy Labs.
The other learning event types we use don’t fit as neatly into the content delivery/content application algorithm. These include:
- Clerkship seminar – instruction provided to a learner or small group of learners by direct interaction with an instructor. Depending on design, clerkship seminars may be either content delivery or content application.
- Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is scheduled time set aside for students to take the initiative for their own learning. A minimum of eight hours per week (pro-rated in short weeks) is designated SDL time. (This is referred to as “Independent Learning” or “IL Time” in the UGME Policy Governing Curricular Time).
- Peer Teaching is learner-to-learner instruction for the mutual learning experience of both “teacher” and “learner” which includes active learning components. This includes sessions that require students to work together in small groups without a teaching, such as Being a Medical Student (BAMS) sessions, the Community Based Project and some Critical Enquiry sessions.
- Career Counseling sessions, which provide guidance, direction and support; these may be in groups or one-on-one.
Two other notations you’ll see are “Other-curricular” and “Other—non-curricular”. Other—curricular is used for sessions that are directly linked to a course but that are not included in calculations of instructional methods. This includes things like examinations, post-exam reviews, and orientation sessions. Other—non-curricular are sessions of an administrative nature that are not directly linked to a particular course and are outside of curricular time, for example, class town hall meetings and optional events or conferences.
Incorporating a variety of learning event types in each course is important to ensure a balance of knowledge acquisition and application. Course plans are set by course directors with their year director, in consultation with the course teachers and with support from the UG Education Team.
*In 2015, Queen’s UGME adopted the MedBiquitous learning event naming conventions to ease sharing of data amongst institutions. For this reason, some learning event type categories may be different from ones used here prior to 2015, or ones used at other, non-medical schools or medical schools which have not adopted these conventions.