• Mentors strive to move students away from surface learning
  • Doctors from OBGYN ACP received grant to implement video intervention to enhance medical student learning
  • To be rolled out in successive batches to Duke-NUS and YLL students on O&G clinical postings at KKH
The same lesson taught in class may be interpreted differently by individual students, depending on their approach to learning.
Studies have found three learning strategies among students: Deep learning is the focus on making connections and reflecting, which creates understanding.
Strategic learning is organised studying with the aim of excelling in assessments. Surface learning is routine memorisation of information with no consideration of the wider context.
As medical students have to understand and assimilate an overwhelming amount of information in a limited amount of time, KKH’s Dr Sonali Chonkar, Senior Staff Registrar and Prof Tan Kok Hian, Senior Consultant, have undertaken a project which seeks to shift the incidence of surface learning approach in students to deep learning instead.
A number of instruments have been developed to measure students’ approaches to learning.  One notable example is the Approaches to Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) by Entwistle and McCune (1998), which assesses the predominant approach used by a student.
Using the ASSIST questionnaires, Dr Sonali and Prof Tan surveyed 160 medical students.
They found that 10 per cent of the students subscribed to the surface learning approach, and hope to reduce this by half with the introduction of digital media intervention.
“We will produce an instructional video sharing best practices in learning to further enhance the students’ learning strategies.  We recommend the use of deep learning approach among our medical students,” explained Dr Sonali.
The video will be rolled out to successive batches of Duke-NUS and YLL medical students on O&G clinical posting at KKH starting this year.  Surveys will be administered at the end of the posting to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the video on their learning.
“We hypothesise that students would report greater shift to deep or strategic learning approaches and hence will perform better academically,” said Dr Sonali.
The researchers have received a $14,400 Teaching Enhancement Grant (TEG) for this project.  The grant was awarded by NUS Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning (CDTL), which provides monetary support for education research projects that promote outcome-based teaching and learning.