After a really fantastic day yesterday, today focused on simulation in the morning and then learning theory in the afternoon. Learning theory might sound a little less exciting, but hopefully lots of interactivity and interaction both sessions kept the delegates awake and enthused. The day 1 report is here, day 2 here and day 3 here.
You can listen to the podcast here.
So what are the highlights today?
Chris Nickson talked about how we can use simulation to develop expert practice. He describes how simulation is used not just for novice learners but also for consultants at the Alfred ICU. I think this is really interesting as it’s a challenge for many of us to persuade senior colleagues that simulation is as useful for them as it is for novice learners. In fact I think many of us would argue that it may be more useful for senior staff to help them move towards mastery.
Chris also asked some really challenging questions about what we mean by expert and expertise. They are really quite tricky concepts to define in medicine, but I suspect that many of us know one when we see one, or do we? He also made the incredibly important point that no-one in medicine operates in isolation and that any one of us is only as good as the team that we work with. Logically, then, we need to train and learn and grow as teams. Simulation clearly offers opportunities to do that in ways that other more personal training cannot.
Jesse, Chris and Sandra then broke the delegates up into groups who were tasked to design and deliver a sim session in the training centre. They were asked to pitch why they had chosen to do what they did, how they were going to deliver it and then to identify where, how and why there might be challenges to delivering it when they get back to their base units.
This worked very well. It enabled the participants to create their own narrative, their own learning and their own processes. In other words, participants constructed their own learning based on their prior experience and expertise. Educationally this works along the principles of constructivist learning and you could really feel the effect. The groups were energetic, involved and quite frankly superb. Considering that they had less than an hour to set up the teaching sessions it was remarkable.
In the afternoon we turned to educational theories. Yes, this might sound like a dull subject, but it’s important that we try to understand what really works in education. A lot of the workshop was based around the book ‘Make it Stick’ which highlights the science behind learning and in particular the numerous paradoxes between what we think works in education vs. what actually works.
In brief we covered the following questions and associated theories.
How do we learn new things? – Kurt Lewin, Unlearning, Cognitive Dissonance
How do you cope when you are struggling? Fixed vs Growth mindsets and can they be changed?
How do I get the most out of my reading? The SQ3R model of learning.
What’s the path to awesome? Mastery vs. Fluency. Dunning Kruger and deliberate practice.
How do I get better at remembering things? Spaced repetition, test effect, elaboration, retrieval.
How can we learn the difficult and rare procedures? Interleaving, practice, variation.
What we really tried hard to do was to use this session to not only teach the theory but also to demonstrate them in practice. For example we demonstrated the effects of testing and recall by asking delegates to remember things that we had taught them just moments ago. Testing and then of course recall and effectively spaced repetition support learning in the session and also relate to other aspects of the course. It all got a bit Meta in the end, but we think it was a far better way of learning as compared to a lecture.
Finally Chris spoke about the role of the learner in receiving feedback – a nice taster for the feedback workshop which is coming on day three. His focus was around how we, as perpetual learners, can make something useful from the feedback we receive, even if it is unsolicited (and potentially unpleasant). He recommended Thanks for the Feedback as a source of further information, pulling from the book the idea that there are three key threats to our receipt of feedback (identity, relationships and truth/facts) and that awareness in this space can help us to draw something meaningful from these interactions.
Day 2 was a real step up in the effortful practice of teaching for the participants and also a great illustration of learning through doing. Some of the debrief and scenario work was really quite remarkable and demonstrated how we can all improve by employing evidence based teachniques (and by avoiding evidence based pitfalls).
We’re all looking forward to tomorrow when we finish with presentation skills and feedback masterclasses that should be a huge amount of fun.
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