(click to enlarge image)
A "concept map" is a graphical display of information. As a visual learner, I am drawn to this approach to displaying medical knowledge. So in my talk on "The Hot Joint: Septic Arthritis"at a recent residency conference, I experimented with a more active learning approach to my allotted lecture time. I assigned each resident with a laptop a focused question to answer, which is displayed in green font above. They had 10 minutes to find the answer online.
After building a basic framework on a Google Docs Presentation document, I left the majority of the document blank for the residents. All of the residents received the Google Docs link http://bit.ly/ijMONm and had access to edit the document any way they saw fit.
For the most part, I think the session was fun, interactive, and informative, but it definitely wasn't perfect.
Lessons I learned:
- 10 minutes is too short of a time for residents to answer their question. They probably needed more like 20-30 minutes to better research for the best answer. Also, I didn't factor in the slow wireless internet connection since everyone was online simultaneously. Unfortunately, I only had 55 minutes total for my entire talk.
- I was surprised to find that many were not too familiar with Google Docs, despite most being Generation Y-ers. Well, now they are one step closer to familiarity.
- Because of the limited time and simultaneous publishing of content, the layout of the concept map wasn't very readable or user-friendly initially. Having a resident dedicated to cleaning up the layout helped. I put on the final editing touches after conference.
- It was helpful that I had a text area (Instructor Box), which was covered with a white box. This contained key images and text, in case the residents didn't find the best answer or image to key clinical questions posed. At the end of the talk, I removed the white box and made sure that we covered all of the key points.
- This teaching approach can be too non-traditional for learners. I should have spent more time talking about concept maps, why teachers SHOULDN'T be giving powerpoint-based talks, and the power of active learning. Fortunately, I think most of the residents were game to try this new educational innovation. While I generally don't pay attention to my evaluations, I'll see how my evaluations turn out...
What's great about using Google Docs to build a concept map:
- You can insert images onto the concept map by uploading a file or typing in the URL link of the file.
- You can enlarge the white canvas to any desired size to accommodate growing content.
- You can export the entire Presentation as a jpg, png, or pdf file.