If You Build It, Will They Come? A Hard Lesson for Enthusiastic Medical Educators Developing a New Curriculum

Daniel Nicklas, J. Lindsey Lane, Janice L. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Primary care forms a critical part of pediatricians' practices, yet the most effective ways to teach primary care during residency are not known. Objective: We established a new primary care curriculum based on Malcolm Knowles' theory of andragogy, with brief clinical content that is easily accessible and available in different formats. Methods: We used Kern's model to create a curriculum. In 2013, we implemented weekly e-mails with links to materials on our learning management system, including moderators' curricular content, resident-developed quizzes, and podcasts. After 3 years, we evaluated the curriculum with resident focus groups, retrospective pre-/post-resident surveys, faculty feedback, a review of materials accessed, and resident attendance. Results: From content analysis of focus groups we learned that residents found the curriculum beneficial, but it was not always possible to do the pre-work. The resident survey, with a response rate of 87% (71 of 82), showed that residents perceived improvement in 37 primary care clinical skills, with differences from 0.64 to 1.46 for scales 1-5 (P < .001 for all). Faculty feedback was positive regarding curriculum organization and structure, but patient care often precluded devoting time to discussing the curriculum. In other ways, our results were disappointing: 51% of residents did not access the curriculum materials, 51% did not open their e-mails, only 37% completed any of the quizzes, and they attended a weekly conference 46% of the time. Conclusions: Although residents accessed the curriculum less than expected, their self-assessments reflect perceptions of improvement in their clinical skills after implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-690
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of graduate medical education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

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