Objective: This study's objective was to determine whether attendance at lectures in a block conference format improves residents' knowledge.
Methods: Seventeen family medicine residents were tested on the content of 27 lectures delivered in a block conference format over a 6-month period. For each lecture, residents completed a pretest, a short-term posttest, and a long-term posttest (1--3 weeks and 1.5--6 months after each lecture, respectively).
Results: Mean short-term posttest scores were 10.3 points higher for lecture attendees than nonattendees. Mean long-term posttest scores did not differ significantly for attendees (62.2) versus nonattendees (60.0).
Conclusions: Attendance at didactic lectures in a block conference format did not improve resident knowledge over the long term. These results lead us to question the value of a block conference format and raise the possibility that resident learning might be better served by maximizing clinical experiences and minimizing time in conferences.