Kevin Hittle ETAP623 Portfolio Page

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Navigate to: ETAP 623 Spring 2020 (Zhang) | Course Overview: Technology and Collaboration in Medical Education

About Me

Hi, I'm Kevin. I am a graduate student in the Curriculum Design and Instructional Technology at the University at Albany and work full-time as a Curriculum Coordinator in the Office of Medical Curriculum at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

I graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Tuba Performance. Following my graduation I worked as a drafter and project manager at a structural engineering firm for nearly ten years.

I am fascinated by the ways technology interfaces with education and its effects on learning. Specifically, I am interested in deepening my knowledge of learning and want to develop a more robust educational technology faculty development program in the medical school.

Coastal Maine


Incorporating technology into adult learning theory as a way to increase medical student engagement and collaboration in hybrid learning environments.

Course Purpose:

Everyone has had to sit through a boring lecture where their eyes glaze over and distractions run rampant. The lecturer thinks their doing a fantastic job and the students are soaking up the information like a sponge. Research in educational theory and learning sciences have proven that passive instruction is not as effective as learner-centered active learning experiences.

This course, while the methods are applicable across all fields, will focus on creating learner-centered experiences in medical education. Medical students are becoming increasingly reliant on commercial products and outside resources to prepare them for the United States Medical Licensing Examiners (USMLE) Step 1 Exam and they're foregoing their medical school's curricula. Attendance at didactic sessions is dropping precipitously and an intervention must be made to improve the efficacy of in person instruction. By developing learner-centered educational experiences that present "high yield" information in effective ways, this trend can be slowed and possibly even reversed.

Course Goal:

In this course you will examine the current trends in medical education, review the types of learning environment and a few notable guiding educational theories influencing the trends, and explore ways to incorporate technology into medical education. The goal of this course is to give an educator new instructional ideas and provide them with the tools to move a passive, lecture style educational session into an active educational experience that uses technology to incorporate a collaborative student component.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Discuss modern medical education including what's influenced it, current trends, and its future directions.
  2. Explain the notable guiding educational theories that influence medical education and adult learning.
  3. Evaluate the impact of technology as a driver of instructional change and list examples of innovative uses of technology in medical education.
  4. Design a learner-centered, active, educational experience that incorporates technology as a way to develop student collaboration.

Needs Assessment

Stakeholders and Participants: Stakeholders and participants to whom this mini-course applies are medical school faculty and staff as well as the medical students they teach.

Intent: Upon completion of this course, participants in this course should have an understanding of evidence-based adult learning theories, be familiar with innovative uses of technology in medical education, and be able to design a effective, learner-centered educational experience that melds adult learning theory best practices with technology.

Learning Goals: Many faculty members in medical school are either physicians or basic scientists with a PhD and little or no formal educational training. The goal of this course is to help medical school faculty identify opportunities to bring technology and learning theory together to design effective, an evidence-based collaborative learning experience.

Instructional Content: The content of this course will challenge lower- and higher-order thinking skills in variety of activities, including reading passages and journal articles and, if applicable, video clips. Instructional content will be followed by formative assessments designed to help the learner apply their knowledge and measure their level of understanding.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Over the past 10-15 years, there has been a proliferation of commercial study aids for students to use to prepare for the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 1 exam. A recent study found that less than 1 in 5 students preparing for the Step 1 exam in 2014-2015 used educational materials from their medical schools to prepare for the exam, finding them only somewhat useful. In contrast, nearly all students (over 99%) used third-party Step 1 study resources including online question banks and lectures and supplemental textbooks (Burk-Rafel et al., p. S69). Students consider many of these commercial study aids to be "high-yield". The vendors build their products upon current and emerging trends in educational theory and the science of learning and students then look for these modalities in their local curricula.

Due to the vast amount of information and limited time to present it, most medical schools over-rely on lecture to deliver the majority of their pre-clinical content. Despite incorporating ideas such as cognitive load theory when developing lectures, this transmission-and-acquisition model is usually more educator-centered and less effective in developing understanding than other modalities. To develop more learner-centered experiences, medical educators should look at incorporating more opportunities for active and collaborative learning models.

Performance-Based Objectives

Unit 1: Medical Education - Past, Present, and Future

  1. The participant will examine current trends in medical education.
  2. The participant will discuss several popular modalities in medical education.
  3. The participant will explain why technology and asynchronous activities should be incorporated into medical education.

Unit 2: Learning Environments, Theories, and Activities

  1. The participant will differentiate asynchronous, synchronous, and hybrid or blended learning.
  2. The participant will examine adult learning and evidence-based educational theories.
  3. The participant will examine the flipped classroom modality.
  4. The participant will explain how active learning promotes deeper understanding than passive instruction and why active learning is so important to medical education.

Unit 3: Technological Possibilities for Medical Education

  1. The participant will explain the role technology can play in education.
  2. The participant will reflect on the "15 Questions to Ask Yourself About Technology Integration".
  3. The participant will identify and describe the four steps of the SAMR framework and discuss the importance of thoughtfully incorporating technology into teaching.

Unit 4: Putting It All Together

  1. The participant will reflect on the dynamism of educational theory, instructional design, and the numerous technological tools available for use.
  2. The participant will combine ideas from the previous three units to construct a blueprint for a blended, learner-centered educational experience.

Curriculum Map

Curriculum map for Kevin Hittle's ETAP mini-course.

References and Resources

Burk-Rafel, J., Santen, S. A., and Purkiss, J. (2017). Study Behaviors and USMLE Step 1 Performance: Implications of a Student Self-Directed Parallel Curriculum. Academic Medicine. Association of American Medical Colleges. 2017(92): S67-S74. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001916.

Larson, M. B. and Lockee, B. B. (2013). Streamlined ID: A Practical Guide to Instructional Design. New York, NY: Routledge. (ISBN 978-0415505185)