Friday, June 26, 2015

Resident Education Points System: Creating a more adult centered learning curriculum in residency education

Lanessa Bass, MD, MEd
University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Medical School

The Resident Education Points (REPs) system is a flexible residency curriculum blending traditional tracking of didactic conference attendance with supplemental educational activities to meet minimum educational expectations.  Realistic but flexible goals are set for the residents on a quarterly basis.  The residents are then afforded the autonomy to choose how to meet their requirements from a variety of methods.  The structure of the curriculum is focused on adult learning and fosters the transition from primary dependence on didactic conferences to active participation in selecting learning opportunities.  Independence, autonomy, and goal setting are all necessary skills for life-long learning.

The curriculum was piloted in a large sized pediatric residency program during the academic year of 2009-2010.  Results revealed that the program is more feasible than the traditional didactic conference attendance requirement.  On average, 74% of our residents met the targeted goal of learning 30 REP points each quarter.  Although conference attendance was not specifically required, attendance rates at didactic conferences did not change from previous years.  It did increase other educational activities such as answering board style questions and viewing archived conferences online. 

Given the work restricted environment which negatively impacts the ability of some residents to attend conferences and the need for residency programs to foster life-long learning skills in their residents, the REP system could be the new wave of residency education.  Programs should consider adjusting their curricula to add similar flexibility and broaden the educational experience of their residents.