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West J Emerg Med. 2018 Jan;19(1):11-17. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2017.10.35235. Epub 2017 Dec 18.

Replacing Lectures with Small Groups: The Impact of Flipping the Residency Conference Day.

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The Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Columbus, Ohio.


The flipped classroom, an educational alternative to the traditional lecture, has been widely adopted by educators at all levels of education and across many disciplines. In the flipped classroom, learners prepare in advance of the face-to-face meeting by learning content material on their own. Classroom time is reserved for application of the learned content to solving problems or discussing cases. Over the past year, we replaced most residency program lectures with small-group discussions using the flipped-classroom model, case-based learning, simulation and procedure labs. In the new model, residents prepared for conference by reviewing a patient case and studying suggested learning materials. Conference day was set aside for facilitated small-group discussions about the case. This is a cross-cohort study of emergency medicine residents who experienced the lecture-based curriculum to residents in the new flipped-classroom curriculum using paired comparisons (independent t-tests) on in-training exam scores while controlling for program year level. We also compared results of the evaluation of various program components. We observed no differences between cohorts on in-training examination scores. Small-group methods were rated the same across program years. Two program components in the new curriculum, an updated format of both adult and pediatric case conferences, were rated significantly higher on program quality. In preparation for didactics, residents in the new curriculum report spending more time on average with outside learning materials, including almost twice as much time reviewing textbooks. Residents found the new format of the case conferences to be of higher quality because of the inclusion of rapid-fire case discussions with targeted learning points.

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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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