Question-Based Collaborative Learning for Constructive Curricular Alignment

Adv Med Educ Pract. 2021 Jan 5;11:1047-1053. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S280972. eCollection 2020.


Introduction: We designed a curriculum mapping tool which enables medical students to access intended learning outcomes (ILOs) on their iPads in the workplace. Students were encouraged to use the online curriculum map in a specially planned teaching session: question-based collaborative learning (QBCL). The aim of the session was to empower medical students to constructively align their experiential learning with the learning outcomes of the undergraduate curriculum. In doing so, our session aimed to provide students with a greater understanding of the curriculum, improve their insights into assessment and their question-writing abilities.

Methods: The QBCL pre-session preparation involved reviewing a patient with a presentation that aligned to the year-specific ILOs. During a 150 minute QBCL session, students received training on how to write high quality multiple choice questions (MCQs) delivered by a faculty member of Imperial College School of Medicine. They then worked collaboratively in groups and created MCQs based on their clinical encounters. Their questions were tagged to the relevant learning objective and submitted online via the curriculum map. The student-generated MCQs were analyzed using an adjusted version of Bloom's taxonomy. We also conducted a quantitative evaluation of the session.

Results: One hundred and sixty-three questions were submitted, with 81% of questions being tagged to ILOs considered to show evidence of learning consistent with the "Apply" tier of Bloom's taxonomy. The majority of students agreed that the session was interactive (80%), thought-provoking (77%) and improved their team-working skills (70%). It gave them a greater understanding of the undergraduate curriculum (65%), improved their question-writing and insight into assessments (76%), and provided an opportunity to learn from their peers (86%). Students agreed that this session covered a variety of cases (82%) and deepened their understanding of medical conditions and presentations (87%).

Conclusion: We encouraged students to actively interact with the curriculum map. Students were able to achieve their own constructive alignment by writing assessment items based on real patients and linking them to the appropriate intended learning outcomes.

Keywords: constructive alignment; multiple choice question.

Grant support

There is no funding to report.