Medical education has a long history. Over the years educators have tried to create and refine previous educational strategies to produce competent physicians and healthcare professionals. However, as in most professions, there is always tension in medical education in relation to how educational strategies should be utilized, who`s in charge of administering them, and what parameters are associated with designing and interpreting the quality of those strategies. For example, when a student enters a health professions program, he/she will encounter numerous educational strategies that are aimed towards improving knowledge, skills, and competency. Therefore, it is essential for educational strategies to be valid, effective, and relevant. It is the thesis of this paper that despite the good attributes of educational strategies in addressing the learning objectives and determining the desired outcomes, a new model with standardized strategies, measures, and outcomes is to be created.
While educational strategies play an important role in addressing the learning objectives and determining the desired outcomes, a new model with standardized strategies, measures, and outcomes is to be created. According to Thomas & Abras (2015), educational strategies are developed once the goals and learning objectives have been determined. They involve content: the specific material that will be included in the curriculum, and methods: the ways in which the content will be presented. For example, listing the right amount of nouns used in the learning objectives will not only determine the content of the curriculum, it will enable curriculum developers to achieve the desired learning objectives and outcomes. Additionally, choosing the right educational method will allow the learning objectives to be achieved successfully and effectively. Even though each educational method has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of reliability, validity, educational impact, costs, and acceptance, combining various methods is key for effective, reliable, and relevant learning.
Other important concepts that should be taken into consideration when creating a new model with standardized strategies, measures, and outcomes in medical education are assessment and evaluation. According to Angelo & Cross (1993), assessment is an interactive process between students and faculty that focuses on learning, teaching, and outcomes. Whereas evaluation focuses on grades and reflects on what`s been learned in the classroom. Therefore, assessment and evaluation in medical education, regardless of their purpose, not only measure domains that are important in practice, but they also allow the conduction of meaningful, valid data. For example, when medical educators know what is being measured and how and why measurements are made, the assessment and evaluation will be effective and meaningful.
In addition to assessment and evaluation, reliability and validity are other important concepts that should be noted when creating a new model with standardized strategies, measure, and outcomes. According to Lindeman & Lipsett (2015), understanding measurement instruments and their potential threats to accuracy is important for both curricular developers and evaluation users. Validity refers to the collected data and information with meaningful interpretation of assessment scores or outcomes that are designed for a specific purpose and time. However, this concept always refers to score interpretation and never to the assessment itself (Downing, 2003). On the other hand, reliability refers to the consistency of assessment outcomes and measures the amount of random measurement error in assessment data. Therefore, it is considered a major quality index of assessment data (Downing, 2004). Clearly, we can see how these two fundamental concepts can help curricular developers create quality assessment measures for learning objectives.
Despite the good attributes of educational strategies in addressing the learning objectives and determining the desired outcomes, a new model with standardized strategies, measures, and outcomes is to be created. Medical education has and will always continue to change, and even though there have been many changes in educational strategies, assessment measures, and evaluations, there is still room for improvement. Also, as healthcare systems and patient care needs are changing dramatically, we need to produce physicians who are prepared enough to meet those needs and improve patient care. Therefore, this process should be looked upon as a research challenge that calls for a stronger collaboration between medical educators, clinicians, and measurement theorists to decide on the optimal choice for a new model in medical education.