The Millennial Student: What we should know

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The characteristics assigned to a particular generation may not all apply to each individual in that generation.

A Learning Style Self-Assessment was designed to guide students to improve in the competency of medial knowledge.

Learning in US Medical Education

  • Pre=1825 an apprenticeship model was used in physician training in which students learned medical knowledge, ethics and patient-physician interactions under the physician mentors in an apprenticeship training model.
  • By 1889, training included formal but unstandardized training in medical knowledge (2 years) along with patient care training (2 years) in a Two plus two model.
  • In 1910, the Flexner report resulted in the expansion and standardization of the knowledge delivered in medical education in the first two years of the two plus two model.
  • By 1950, patient care was moving from an office based setting to a hospital setting.
  • By 1980, hospital admissions had increased dramatically and the shift from office care to hospital care had reduced the opportunities for students to learn patient care under physician mentors.
  • In 1999, an increase in patient care dissatisfaction was reported and subsequently core competencies to improve patient care training in graduate medical education were developed.

Introduction of competency training has been adopted for pre-clerkship training in undergraduate medical education with a Professional Identity Self-Assessment.

The objectives for the Professional Identity Self-Assessment are:

  • Increase student awareness of behaviors that are related to competencies important in patient care.
  • Provide students a mechanism to self-assess relevant competency behaviors and target areas in which improvement would lead to increased success in training and patient care outcomes.

Long Term

  • Provide early identification of individual students at risk in training.
  • Provide opportunity to guide individual students in targeted problem areas.
  • Provide recognition of more widespread substandard student behaviors in order to develop curricular innovations in targeted areas of training.

Part of the Professional Identity Self-Assessment is to help students improve in the core competency of medical knowledge in the form of a leaning style self-assessment.

Learning style self-assessment preliminary data
Total # of first year Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine medical student respondents = 214 out of a class of 270

  • Regarding how students approach learning (listen to lecture, read text, peruse images & diagrams and re-write notes/draw diagrams): 67% read text.
  • Regarding learning in a group dynamic: 77% are inclined to group learning.
  • Regarding learning in a traditional versus a Problem Based Learning format: 72% are not inclined to Problem Based Learning.

Key Points

  • Millennial students are not a clonal population and the archetypical character traits ascribed to them should only be considered as a guide to how they behave and learn.
  • Each independent student cohort should be assessed for their unique subset of learning characteristics when curricular reform is under consideration.
  • Student self-assessment in competency behaviors can be used at the earliest part of training to encourage improvement in behaviors for increasing successful outcomes.
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