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JMIR Med Educ. 2018 Oct 17;4(2):e10657. doi: 10.2196/10657.

A Novel Web-Based Experiential Learning Platform for Medical Students (Learning Moment): Qualitative Study.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, United States.
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, United States.
Department of Health Law, Policy and Management, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States.
Evans Center for Implementation and Improvement Sciences, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, United States.
Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, United States.
Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Bedford, MA, United States.
Lawrence General Hospital, Lawrence, MA, United States.



Experiential learning plays a critical role in learner development. Kolb's 4-part experiential learning model consists of concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation in a recurring cycle. Most clinical environments provide opportunities for experiences and active experimentation but rarely offer structured means for reflection and abstract conceptualization that are crucial for learners to learn through experience. We created Learning Moment, a novel Web-based educational tool that integrates principles of asynchronous learning and learning portfolios to fulfill the reflection and abstract conceptualization aspects of Kolb's learning cycle in the modern clinical learning environment. Medical students log concise clinical "pearls" in the form of "learning moments" for reflection, review, and sharing with peers in a community of practice.


We sought to evaluate learners' experiences with Learning Moment via a qualitative study.


We employed purposive sampling to recruit medical students who used Learning Moment during their rotation. We conducted 13 semistructured interviews (10 individual interviews and one 3-person group interview) between January and March 2017 using an ethnographic approach and utilized a general inductive method to analyze and code for potential themes.


A total of 13 students (five in their third year of medical school and eight in their fourth year) voluntarily participated in our qualitative interviews. Five of the 13 (38%) students intended to pursue emergency medicine as their chosen field of specialty. The median number of "learning moments" logged by these students is 6. From our analysis, three key themes emerged relating to the perceived impact of Learning Moment on student learning: (1) logging "learning moments" enhanced memorization, (2) improved learning through reflection, and (3) sharing of knowledge and experiences in a community of practice.


Learning Moment was successfully implemented into the educational infrastructure in our department. Students identified three mechanisms by which the application optimizes experiential learning, including enabling the logging of "learning moments" to promote memorization, encouraging reflection to facilitate learning, and fostering the sharing of knowledge and experiences within a community of practice. The Learning Moment concept is potentially scalable to other departments, disciplines, and institutions as we seek to optimize experiential learning ecosystems for all trainees.


experiential learning; reflection; shared learning

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