What is the impact of the Rashomon approach in primary care education?: An educational case report of implementing dialogue and improvisation into medical education

BMC Med Educ. 2021 Mar 4;21(1):143. doi: 10.1186/s12909-021-02570-6.


Background: The excessive sub-divided or concrete pre-determined objectives found in the technological approach in contemporary medical education curricula may hinder the students' spontaneous learning about diverse needs and values in care. However, medical professionals must learn the diversity for care or a variety of social factors of the patients influencing decision making in daily practice.

Methods: We introduced a new method of curriculum development called the Rashomon approach. For testing the Rashomon approach, educational activities to teach the diversity in primary care were developed in four modules: 1) explication of the competency without specifying sub-objectives; 2) dialogue among multiple professional students; 3) visits and interviews of the patients; 4) dialogue with teachers' improvisation. The students' outcomes and responses were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed.

Results: A total of 135 medical students joined this study in 2017. The descriptive data suggested that the key concepts of diversity in primary care were fully recognized and that the pre-determined general goals were achieved. Scores on the understanding of social factors in medicine, respect for other professionals, professional identity, and satisfaction with the course were very high.

Conclusion: Instead of the technological approach, the Rashomon approach, in which only a general goal guides educational activities was used in this research. Improvisation and dialogue fit the approach and were potentially effective activities to learn the multifaceted practice of medicine. In an era of competency-based education, the Rashomon approach could be a very useful framework in primary care education.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Primary Health Care
  • Students, Medical*