Study and Learning
Conceptual approaches to learning may fit the different ways students can function in various settings. These approaches include:
Learning through experience
Learning through abstract conceptualization by developing strategies and theories
Learning through active experimentation
Learning through reflective observation
These approaches can be synthesized into four types of learner:
Convergers: rely on deduction to solve problems
Divergers: use creative problem solving and view a problem from
many perspectives before acting
Assimilators: employ an inductive approach with schemes and algorithms to organize problem solving
Hands-on: want to obtain experience as a way of learning
For diagnostic success with typical problem scenarios in the learning process, students who employ the assimilator strategy, using a scheme-inductive reasoning process or pattern recognition, do best at arriving at the correct diagnosis. In practice, not everyone functions the same, and not all clinical scenarios are equivalent. For example, a "hands-on" approach to learning how to stabilize patients in shock may be the best approach in the emergency room. Creative problem solving may be necessary in research settings.
Approaches to work
- Surface disorganized:
Students feel overwhelmed by work. They are unsure what is needed to complete a task. They find it difficult to organize their time effectively. Their study methods, such as reading, do not yield real understanding.
- Surface rational:
Students have preference for order, detail, and routine. Students want to know precisely what is expected. They put considerable effort into memorizing important facts when learning something new.
- Deep approach:
Students employ an integrative approach that leads to personal understanding. Students try to relate new ideas to actual situations where they might apply.
Previous academic performance accounts for just 23% of the variance in performance in undergraduate medical training (medical school) and only 6% of the variance in postgraduate competency.
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McManus IC, Keeling A, Paice E. Stress, burnout and doctors' attitudes to work are determined by personality and learning style: A twelve year longitudinal study of UK medical graduates. BMC Medicine. 2004, 2:29 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-2-29.