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Continuing Medical Education

Quillen College of Medicine

Active and Passive Learning:

A learning-centered teaching approach requires that you shift your focus from what you as the instructor are going to cover in your presentation to one that focuses on the information and tools you can provide for your learners to promote learning and intellectual development.

Your teaching should be structures so that new learning is built on old. New learning is not understood unless it is connected to existing concepts, knowledge and experience. learning is often accomplished in a passive manner by having instructors or content transmitted to the learners for them to absorb. However, passive methods of learning such as listening do not require learners to make neural connections or conceptualizations. And this is the least effective method of transmitting new concepts and knowledge. Where as active learning requires the learner to be involved and engaged in the instructional process. This can be accomplished by involving learners through discussion or engaging in problem-solving activities based on the new information or experiences. To develop thinking and comprehension skills, link old information to new through engaging learners verbally in analysis, problem soling, and evaluation of the new material. One of the best teaching tools is to have learners react to the new material through activities such as problem-based learning or the use of case studies. This can be accomplished through verbally presenting situations that require feedback and participation of the learners. This could include the use of an ARA system.


Measurable Learner-Center Objectives:

Specifically what knowledge, competency and/or performance skill should the attendee be able to demonstrate they have mastered as a result of this educational activity? Objectives should be built around very discrete tasks such as:

Endovascular Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Repair

At the conclusion of this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • Evaluate patients with thoracic aortic aneurysm
  • Determine the appropriate candidates for endovascular repair
  • Summarize the latest developments in endovascular repair of thoracic aortic aneurysms.

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Action Verbs

When writing learning objectives, please do not use:Appreciate, Know, Learn, Understand, Believe, Have an awareness of, Internalize, Grasp the significance of.

They are inadequate, are open to interpretation, are non-specific, and are not measurable.

Below are action oriented task specific verbs that can be utilized in developing measurable learner-center objectives. Please note that the desired level of assessment for CME activities should be focused on the Comprehension level and higher levels. This does not mean that one objective can be based on knowledge.

Knowledge - Remembering previously learned materials

cite label name select
define list recognize describe
identify match recite state

Comprehension - ability to grasp the meaning of material.
Answers: who? what? when? where?

associate discover manage relate
change explain rephrase substitute
convert give examples represent summarize
depict give main idea restate translate
describe illustrate reword vary
interpret paraphrase tell why express

Application - ability to use learned material in new and concrete situations

apply discover manage relate
classify employ predict show
compute evidence prepare solve
demonstrate manifest present utilize

Analysis - ability to break down material into its component parts.
Answers: how many? which? what is?

ascertain diagnose distinguish outline
analyze diagram divide point out
associate differentiate examine reduce
conclude discriminate find separate
designate dissect infer determine

Synthesis - ability to put parts together to form a new whole.
Answers why?

combine devise originate revise
compile expand plan rewrite
compose extend pose synthesize
conceive generalize propose theorize
create integrate project write
design invent rearrange develop

Evaluation - ability to judge the value of material for a given purpose. Answers: how can we improve? what would happen if?

appraise conclude critique judge
assess contrast deduce weigh
compare criticize evaluate  


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