Friday, October 28, 2011

From theater seating to studios - Medical education reform of learning spaces

I took the above picture from a blog outlining recent University of Virginia School of Medicine's curricular changes.  These changes in part integrate learning theory ideas that participatory learning creates better retention than passive learning (read small group discussions are better than large group lectures), and also incorporates the use of new technology seamlessly into the curriuculum.  This includes a physical learning space change from a tiered lecture hall to a learning studio with multiple tables to foster small group discussion.

The medical school I am at (OHSU) is looking to build a new medical education building.  The current plans call for learning studios for the first and second year courses as opposed to the traditional theater-style lecture hall we now have.  I had asked in my last post for some feedback on curricular reform, but I think I may not have given a focused enough question to get a good discussion going.  So, this time I'll be more to the point on what I'm REALLY interested in here.  So, what I'd like to know is:

1) Has your medical school (or other higher education institution) already switched to the learning studio format for large group presentations in the first and second year or are you planning on switching soon?
2)  What have been successes/hurdles if you have implemented this style of learning space? 
                    -  Our course directors have specific concerns about the amount of faculty development needed to   pull this off given our current heavy reliance on lecture)
                    - Are there innovative teaching methods you have implementing using this type of space which is not possible with a traditional lecture hall?

I'm personally thinking this will fit my emerging person style of large group lectures quite well, as I've moved much more to giving introductory statements, and having learners figure out the rest as they work through a case study or an example.  I appreciate your comments (as does our basic science sub-committee)!