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West J Emerg Med. 2018 Jan;19(1):59-65. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2017.10.35179. Epub 2017 Dec 5.

Fantastic Learning Moments and Where to Find Them.

Author information

Boston Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.



Experiential learning is crucial for the development of all learners. Literature exploring how and where experiential learning happens in the modern clinical learning environment is sparse. We created a novel, web-based educational tool called "Learning Moment" (LM) to foster experiential learning among our learners. We used data captured by LM as a research database to determine where learning experiences were occuring within our emergency department (ED). We hypothesized that these moments would occur more frequently at the physician workstations as opposed to the bedside.


We implemented LM at a single ED's medical student clerkship. The platform captured demographic data including the student's intended specialty and year of training as well as "learning moments," defined as logs of learner self-selected learning experiences that included the clinical "pearl," clinical scenario, and location where the "learning moment" occurred. We presented data using descriptive statistics with frequencies and percentages. Locations of learning experiences were stratified by specialty and training level.


A total of 323 "learning moments" were logged by 42 registered medical students (29 fourth-year medical students (MS 4) and 13 MS 3 over a six-month period. Over half (52.4%) intended to enter the field of emergency medicine (EM). Of these "learning moments," 266 included optional location data. The most frequently reported location was patient rooms (135 "learning moments", 50.8%). Physician workstations hosted the second most frequent "learning moments" (67, 25.2%). EM-bound students reported 43.7% of "learning moments" happening in patient rooms, followed by workstations (32.8%). On the other hand, non EM-bound students reported that 66.3% of "learning moments" occurred in patient rooms and only 8.4% at workstations (p<0.001).


LM was implemented within our ED as an innovative, web-based tool to fulfill and optimize the experiential learning cycle for our learners. In our environment, patient rooms represented the most frequent location of "learning moments," followed by physician workstations. EM-bound students were considerably more likely to document "learning moments" occurring at the workstation and less likely in patient rooms than their non EM-bound colleagues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: By the WestJEM article submission agreement, all authors are required to disclose all affiliations, funding sources and financial or management relationships that could be perceived as potential sources of bias. No author has professional or financial relationships with any companies that are relevant to this study. There are no conflicts of interest or sources of funding to declare.

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