Background Increasing demands on residents' time have made it critically important to maximize the effectiveness of didactic activities and motivate independent study. Objective Our aim was to correlate characteristics of noon conferences with internal medicine (IM) residents' ratings of perceived effectiveness and intent to pursue independent reading. Methods We assessed characteristics of each noon conference by direct observation using predetermined metrics. We surveyed IM residents to assess their perception of the conference's effectiveness and their intention to pursue additional reading. A variety of modeling techniques were used to discern meaningful correlations of effectiveness and motivation. Results A total of 649 evaluations of 29 conferences were submitted by 153 of 185 (83%) residents in the program. Median effectiveness score was 6 (on a scale of 1 to 7). Clinicopathological conferences had 0.55-point higher effectiveness scores than traditional conferences (P = .011). In multivariable analyses focusing on traditional conferences, summary statement inclusion was significantly associated with 0.43-point higher effectiveness scores (P = .016), and having resident speakers was associated with 0.50-point higher effectiveness scores than unfamiliar faculty (P = .045). Conferences with higher effectiveness scores had significantly higher proportions of respondents indicating intention to read. Conclusions This is the first study to quantitatively assess correlations of high effectiveness ratings of noon conferences in a residency program. Intention to read improved with increasing effectiveness scores of conferences, suggesting residents are more inclined to pursue self-directed learning when topics are well presented. Considering these attributes in designs of didactic sessions may enhance their educational value.