The TRAILS curriculum promotes learning environments that engage faculty and students in the active application of knowledge and the practice of skills central to patient care. The curriculum underscores students’ role in learning, equipping them with the skills to think critically and make evidence-based decisions.
What is Active Learning?
Active learning generally involves students directly participating in the learning process, rather than just passively listening to a lecture or reading a text. Typically, these strategies involve students working together during class, but may also involve individual work and/or reflection.
Team-based learning (TBL) is a structured form of small group learning that can be applied to large classes. TBL emphasizes student preparation out of class and application of knowledge in class.TBL emphasizes student preparation out of class and application of knowledge in class. Students are organized into small teams that work together throughout the course.
Inquiry (IQ) cases use a student-centered, small group learning method adapted from problem-based learning (PBL). Students are joined with a faculty facilitator to research and discuss paper cases. Students develop their own learning objectives on the first day of the case and then discuss what they have researched and learned on the second day of the case.
Unlike other forms of PBL, in IQ all students are responsible for researching all student-generated learning objectives. In this way, students take primary responsibility for their own learning and are prepared to discuss all objectives.
The TRAILS curriculum embraces a philosophy of assessment for learning. Assessment activities contribute significantly to student learning by giving each student ongoing feedback about their performance. The model is based on continuous, progressive, low-stakes assessments leading up to a final assessment with somewhat higher stakes. Students have multiple opportunities to reinforce their learning through questions during class, end-of-week checkpoints, and researching objectives for IQ. All courses in the pre-clerkship phase are graded as Pass/Fail.