Anesthesia Keyword Engagement Using Spaced Learning Through Mobile Device Platforms
Abstract: It is impossible to expose a resident to the innumerable management decisions that can arise in the operating room. Given clinical demands of anesthesia training and the pressures in an operating room environment, time for learning is sparse. Efforts should be taken to assess other options at disseminating information. Spaced learning is an educational concept where objectives repeated over time leads to improved retention and a more efficient learner. Combining this effort with technology affords an opportunity to expose learners to small snips of information which when repeated, results in superior retention of information.
We piloted a smartphone based spaced learning process of anesthesia keywords to assess engagement and retention of material outside of our didactic program over three years. A question bank combined with a delivery algorithm was created based on keywords.
Open to any learner, we have had enrollment reach over 350 in the latest module. Roughly 2/3 of all enrollees participated in the program with an across the board improvement of 40% on the keyword topics covered. We hope this general anesthesia learning format allows for better retention of information for trainees in the care of patients in the perioperative environment.
Background: It is time-honored that medical trainees cram the night before exams. While useful for the purpose of passing exams, it does little in facilitating long-term recall. An exponential loss of recall usually occurs with time. In fact, a long-held hypothesis called Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve first noted in 1885 readily explains the transience that occurs (Figure 1).
As educators, how does one teach students to think critically with a mastery of knowledge? An interesting thing about Ebbinghaus’ hypothesis is that better memory as defined by recall occurs through repeated and spaced exposure of information (Figure 2). Mobile technology provides educator’s an unbelievable avenue to disseminate large amounts of information to learners who can then go through a spaced learning process at their pace to master information. Preliminary findings by Kerfoot and others have shown promise in this arena, specifically with medical knowledge.
We developed a technology platform for smartphones and tablets to assess anesthesia residents on medical knowledge via this spaced learning concept and tracked retention rates with utilization of this program.
This is potentially transformative in the way anesthesia trainees are exposed to anesthesia information. This mode of teaching allows education to a broader number of trainees than those who rotate through our center based on spaced learning and provides a framework initiating a massive online open course (MOOC) for the field of anesthesiology.