Comparing Sketchy Medical and the Minute Sketch with Folded List system as an effective way to build expertise in Medicine.

Expertise itself can be broken into two components. Half of expertise can be defined as what one recalls: what one memorizes. The other half, and arguably the more critical half, is the problems one can address with one’sknowledge. This half of expertise deals with how one takes memorized information and applies that in new and novel situations. Sketchy Medical uses a combination of oral story telling accompanied by memorable visual aids related to the ancient technique of memory palaces, but applied to topics in medicine. The combination of vivid images with a story is an effective way to build enduring memory, but the memory palace technique applied in Sketchy Medical involves images related to medicine only superficially.

The minute sketch with folded list system (MSFL) can be described as the minimum number of lines and symbols necessary to represent a concept to the user (Heideman et al., 2017). The user practices and modifies the sketch so that it can be reproduced in a minute or less. In research on college students, MSFL gave 50-80% greater recall in comparison to students’ study method and recalled the informationfor longer (Heideman et al., 2017). Importantly, minute sketches are visual models that can be used as hypotheses for model-based reasoning (Heideman et al., 2017; and see Quillin and Thomas 2015).

This research project compares an up and coming medical school study tool, known as“Sketchy Medical”  with the“Minute sketch with Folded list” (MSFL) study technique (Heideman et al, 2017). The overall goal of the study is to look at effective ways to develop expertise in medicine.

The experiments will compare two different form of multimedia learning, Sketchy Medical and Minute Sketches, to assess the effectiveness of sketchy medical as compared to the tested method of MSFL. Participants in the study will be premedical students at the junior and senior level, as these students usually have coursework that is related to topics covered inSketchy Medical. The effectiveness of sketchy medical will be compared to MSFL through presentations that use Sketchy Medical or, using matched time, allow presentation and practice of the same content using MSFL. Each participant (N = 6 to assess materials and N = 20, as a minimum, for the first experiment) will study two sets of material, one using Sketchy Medical and the other using MSFL, with random assignment to each treatment (following the study design in Heideman et al. 2017). Over the summer, I aim to do much of the preliminary research and hopefully a few beta tests by the end of the summer.

We have found no prior studies on the effectiveness of the Sketchy Medicaltechnique for developing the combination of recall and problem solving. Minute sketches have not been tested in the context of teaching and learning in medicine. This study will add useful information on teaching and learning in biology and medicine, and will shed light on possible techniques that may be useful to apply in a classroom setting both inside and outside of medical schools. This study can also add to the growing body of literature on memory and learning and will add another possible dimension to the CTML.

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