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Med Teach. 2011;33(10):e515-21. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.599894.

Development and pilot testing of a reflective learning guide for medical education.

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University of California, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.



Reflection is increasingly incorporated into all levels of medical education but little is known about best practices for teaching and learning reflection.


To develop a literature-based reflective learning guide for medical education and conduct a pilot study to determine whether (1) guide use enhances medical students' reflective writing skills and (2) reflective scores correlate with participant demographics and satisfaction.


Guide development consisted of literature review, needs assessment, single institution survey, and educational leader consensus. The pilot cohort study compared professionalism reflections written with and without the guide by third-year medical students on their core obstetrics and gynecology rotation. Reflections were scored using a previously validated rubric. A demographics and satisfaction survey examined effects of gender and satisfaction, as well as qualitative analysis of optional written comments. Analyses used independent t-tests and Pearson's correlations.


We developed a two-page, literature-based guide in clinical Subjective-Objective-Assessment-Plan (SOAP) note format. There was a statistically significant difference, pā€‰<ā€‰0.001, in the reflection scores between groups, but no effects of gender or satisfaction. Student satisfaction with the guide varied widely.


A single exposure to a literature-based guide to reflective learning improved written reflections by third-year medical students.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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