Taking Residency Training Online

Matthew F. Watto, MD; Paul N. Williams, MD; Stuart K. Brigham, MD


June 30, 2020

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Matthew F. Watto, MD: Welcome back to the Curbsiders. I'm Dr Matthew Watto, here with my great friend, Dr Paul Williams. Tell us what we are doing on this video, Paul.

Paul N. Williams, MD: We recap teaching points and pearls that we gleaned from a podcast that we recorded earlier. In this particular episode, we discussed online curricula for graduate medical education and how to implement them in your training programs.

Watto: Our guests were Dr Kat Zechar and Dr Amreet Sidhu, and we talked with them about a website they built. They actually began building this before the pandemic hit, and then they were very well positioned to transition to an online curriculum once the pandemic was here.

They had a very simple Wordpress website, which is a website that most people can get for free or for very low cost. They used all sorts of free plugins to make multimodality learning for their residency program, based on the needs they identified through the in-training exam and getting feedback from their learners.

They made flashcards and short quizzes (multiple-choice or short-answer), and this really cool thing was a tool from On, they made interactive cases. For example, one case we talked about was a resident on night float who was called for a patient with rapid atrial fibrillation. We got to play around with that case.

The unexpected element was that they were able to track engagement of learners. Each learner had a nickname, and there was a scoreboard so learners could see what they were doing and their progress and that of their peers. The program instructors could view this as well. I thought that was an awesome way to do it.

Williams: That was the most fascinating part to me. We're all a bit familiar with online curricula, and we've all completed training programs online. What they did was use their website as a central clearinghouse for information — it wasn't just for transmission of content or the learning tools — they could actually use the website to evaluate their learners, and the learners could evaluate their own performance in comparison to other residents in the program.

It helped them to evaluate the competence of the people using the website, and the residents used the website as a central place to go for information. It wasn't just a place for residents to learn about emphysema; it was a central place where they learned about the broader curriculum. So I thought the way it was organized was really fascinating.

The point they made was that even though the technical stuff seems daunting, the real work is identifying the needs in your program. Building it was the easy part. They gave some practical tips on how to assemble that in real life.

Watto: We have links to the tools they used, as well as a cost estimate. The cost wasn't very high. So if this all sounds like something you want to learn more about, click on the link below. Until next time, I'm Dr Matthew Frank Watto.

Williams: And I'm Dr Paul Nelson Williams. Thank you and goodbye.

Click to hear the full episode of How to Create an Online Curriculum for Medical Education or find the Curbsiders' podcasts on iTunes.

The Curbsiders is a national network of students, residents, and clinician educators from across the country, representing 15 different institutions. They "curbside" experts to deconstruct various topics in the world of medicine to provide listeners with clinical pearls, practice-changing knowledge, and bad puns. Learn more about their contributors and follow them on Twitter.

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