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Air Med J. 2017 Jul - Aug;36(4):198-202. doi: 10.1016/j.amj.2017.02.012. Epub 2017 Apr 5.

The 5 T's: Applying Cognitive Science to Improve Prehospital Medical Education.

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Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, Hanover, NH; Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH. Electronic address:
Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy & Clinical Practice, Lebanon, NH.
Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medicine Center.


Although research on effective teaching methods exists, the application of this information in prehospital medical education is limited. Applying lessons from the realms of cognitive psychology and neuroscience, prehospital educators can enhance their ability to teach. One such concept is the theory of cognitive load. Understanding this theory can reduce the mental strain placed on learners and allow educators to best accomplish long-term learning success, defined as "far transfer" of material to novel contexts. Thus, we propose 5 concise strategies gleaned from cognitive science literature: Tell a story, Time, Technical elements, Think novelly, and Testing and recall (referred to as the "5 T's"). Each strategy is grounded in research and applicable to medical education. Increased educator awareness and use of these strategies garners the potential to transform prehospital medical education.


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