Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Resident Quality Seminars as Adult Education

A few weeks ago I wrote (See “Communicating Quality and the Principles of Adult Education - January 30th 2011) that adults learn what they want, and  how they want and accept the knowledge if it makes sense and is consistent with what we already know.  The educator needed to be seen to be organized and pragmatic and relevant and interesting.  If adults are motivated they learn better.  

So with this in mind, can I make any objective comments about my own teaching capabilities?

I got back the results from my Resident Seminar Series.  
To summarize, I put on a seminar series for anatomic and general pathology residents.  The series begins the week after New Years and my sessions start at 08:00 AM.  A draw to the academic half day program is that they get a free breakfast when they attend.  
Before I start the seminar series  I create an anonymous on-line survey that includes a series of 10 questions on quality facts, along with some demographic information.  I then present 7 hours of seminars over 4 sessions and give 1 hour to a guest presenter, and after that asked the group to respond to a second on-line survey which asked the same questions as before and added some additional comments on the series based on a 7 point Likert ranked scale with a maximum value of 6.0

The pre-seminar survey had 25 responders.  
On average there were 29-31 attenders to the seminar series.  Nearly everyone attended all 4 sessions.
The post-seminar survey had 14 responders.

So my first point.  Adult learners do what they want and respond to surveys if there is something on the table.  After the series we were able to get 14 responders (despite repeated requests).  Not getting a better response rate in the post-survey was annoying, but it is what is is.  

My second point:  There was improvement in the responses to all the fact based questions.  There was significant improvement (yates corrected p<0.05) in 2 questions.

My third point:  The responders found the information relevant to their career (5.5/6.0)  informative (5.36/6.0), relevant to their residency (5.29/6/0), and relevant to preparation for examinations (5.07/6.0)  The weakest response was when the group found the information interesting (5.0/6.0).  

Overall I can this a success.  Not an overwhelming success, but a success none the less.  

What was encouraging was that after the series, one resident  approached the hospital quality manager to get engaged in a project, and one resident approached me on a similar topic.

The increase in knowledge performance was ojectively positive and in part significantly so.  And there is a powerful opinion and recognition that knowing something about quality is important in a laboratory career.

Discussion and Conclusion
The objective measures point to the seminar series as a measurable success with opportunities for improvement.

Teaching my on;line course is the ideal adult education situation.  The participants seek us out because they want the information.  There is money on the table.  They feel free to participate actively.
With residents, they are present because they feel required to be there, even if they don’t care.  At worst they still get a free breakfast.  There is no money on the table.  They feel free to drop out if they are not being entertained.   

Note to myself:  
Look forward to doing the seminar series again, maybe next year, more likely in 2 years.  
Make some changes to beef up interest.  
And importantly don’t take the weak response rate too personally.  If they really thought the series stunk they probably would have taken full advantage to let me know.  

The information will be presented more completely and formally during the POLQM Quality Weekend Workshop in June.  There will be an education breakout session.


  1. any other seminar this year on quality lab improvement

  2. We are not planning to do the resident Quality seminar series until January 2012. We will be hosting a Quality seminar at the Association for Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases meeting to be held in Vancouver at the Sheraton Wall Hotel in June 2012. Another conference to be held in October.



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