Background Self-regulated learning, including student-generated learning goals and flexibility in the learning structure are increasingly being used to enhance medical education. The role of these practices in surgical education of medical students has not been studied. Materials and methods We administered an 18-question electronic survey to all third-year medical students at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. Of the 126 students invited, 64 responded and 56 were included in the analysis. Results We found that third-year medical students develop learning goals at the beginning of the surgery clerkship. Although these learning goals theoretically can be a mechanism for enhanced student-faculty engagement, students are not aware of formal mechanisms for sharing these goals with faculty members. Furthermore, students report a lack of flexibility within the surgery clerkship and discomfort with requesting specific learning opportunities. Finally, students report that they believe increased flexibility could improve student engagement, learning, and the overall clerkship experience. Conclusions We therefore propose that a mechanism for students to share their learning goals with faculty and an infrastructure in which student learning experiences can be tailored to fit with these individualized goals would enhance student surgical learning.
- Medical student education
- Self-regulated learning