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Med Teach. 2011;33(12):e644-50. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.610844.

Effective multilevel teaching techniques on attending rounds: a pilot survey and systematic review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, 02143, USA.



While numerous authors acknowledge the challenge of teaching simultaneously to medical students, interns, and residents, few offer specific advice on how to meet that challenge, and none have studied which techniques are most effective.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether multilevel teaching is challenging for attendings, whether trainees feel that teaching on rounds is appropriate to their level, and to define multilevel teaching techniques.


We surveyed attendings and trainees on the internal medicine services at two academic medical centers.


Attendings were divided about whether teaching to multiple levels posed a challenge. Trainees reported that the teaching they received was usually appropriate to their level of training. The most effective techniques for multilevel teaching were Broadening (asking "what if" questions), Targeting (directing questions at specific team members), and Novelty (teaching newly published information), while the least effective were techniques that taught advanced material unfamiliar to most or all of the team. A systematic literature review yielded no studies that focused on multilevel teaching techniques.


This article is the first to define and evaluate specific techniques for multilevel instruction in a medical setting and identifies certain techniques as more effective at engaging multiple levels of learners simultaneously.

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