Learning How to Fetch
The way we do learning in medicine is all wrong.
As students, we fall prey to predictable, unproductive and ineffective learning strategies, passed down from our predecessors as lore or invented by us through intuition.
But we can fix this by learning how to fetch. How do you fetch? Once you identify a goal, it conists of three steps.
1. Retrive the Ball - "THE BALL, I WANT THE BALL"
2. Receive Feedback - "OH, HE SAID I AS A GOOD BOY"
3. Reflect -"WHEN I GET THE BALL HE CALLS ME A GOOD BOY"
Fallacies of Learning
3 Main myths:
MYTH #1 - "Cramming" is an effective study strategy
Spaced repetition and interleaving is much more effective as opposed to massed practice
Nearly 300 studies have shown this to be true - massed practice is ineffective
MYTH #2 -Re-reading is an effective study strategy
Perpetuates the illusion of mastery = mastering the text, slides etc is NOT the same as mastering the concepts behind them
Since we are familiar with text we ware reading we we think we know it
But it does not mean we understand how to apply concepts or connect them with existing knowledge
MYTH #3 - In the interest of time, we should avoid learning modalities that are difficult
In educational literature, learning that is more effortful is both longer lasting and more versatile. The harder you work = the longer you'll remember
Effortful learning strategies:
Summarizing key concepts of a lecture from memory
Peer teaching a concept you just learning with no reference materials
Struggling through a problem that you have not been taught how to solve
Whether you succeed or fail, our expanded effort yields powerful an durable learning
Breaking it down: How to Fetch
Retrieval - the act of information retrieval from your brain, the learner calls information to mind
It's about getting information out of your head, not getting information in
It's near impossible to mix retrieval and massed practice
There is no place for the illusion of mastery - you either know it or you don't
It's difficult - effortful learning is more effective (see above)
Embrace difficult, spaced repetition and interleaving
Give feedback to those you are educating - are they learning things? Are they able to apply the things they learn?
Make sure someone is ready for it- consider delaying
Ask: "Are you ready to receive feedback?"
Can also build feedback into your education
Learners - seek out feedback
Difficult; should take place no matter what in the presence or absence of feedback
"Reflection requires a series of micro skills; recognizing I have thoughts; being able to bystand them, tolerating what I learn about myself, tolerating fallibility, motivation to consider changing my thinking, accepting and celebrating my ways of thinking."
Self Guided Retrieval
Mind Map, from memory - canva
Peer teaching without a script
Quizing self or friends
Mental rehearsal - especially with resuscitation and infrequently performed procedures (i.e. cricothyrotomy)
Being a Good Educator - Promoting Retrieval
Teach-back: student teaches educator about subject from memory after lecture
Allow for uncomfortable amount of silence
We often are too quick to answer question if student does not answer immediately; remember, difficult learning = more effective
So go out there and fetch
Resources for improving your fetch:
Retrievalpractice.org - free resource
Coming in 2019 - Powerful Teaching, Unleash the Science of Learning
“Elephant Walk", "Carefree to Careful", "Dragon", "Organ Groove", "Jalopy", "Window Shopping" and "Big Blue" by Podington Bear is licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0 / Songs have been cropped in length from original form