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Medical Education
Bridges Curriculum

Learn to Use Analogy to Integrate Basic and Clinical Science

Workshop date: Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 9:00am - 11:00am
UCSF Library, 530 Parnassus Ave, Room CL-221

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The idea of ‘‘transfer,” from cognitive psychology, refers to using knowledge acquired in one context to solve a new dissimilar problem in another context. A consistent finding from studies to date is that transfer is, in fact, more difficult that we might think. Typically, students who have learned a concept in one problem context will only have a 10–30% success rate in applying the concept to solve a new problem. This issue of transfer of knowledge is familiar in medical education, particularly when considering the difficulty in helping students understand how to apply foundational science concepts to clinical scenarios. Fortunately, the educational literature has identified practical strategies to improve transfer, including use of everyday analogies in teaching – linking a more abstract concept to something that is known and well-understood.

In this workshop on the Use of Analogy to Integrate Basic and Clinical Science, leaders and learners explore the use of analogy in teaching: comparisons that are surprising, entertaining, and fun! The education literature suggests that analogies used in teaching can help learners construct new mental models or improve existing ones by applying knowledge about a known (common, well-understood) domain to an unknown (often abstract or complex) domain. In particular, this can be effective when integrating basic and clinical science in health professions education.

In this workshop, participants will:

  • Practice using familiar terms to express abstract scientific ideas.
  • Draw on knowledge of their subject area to develop good analogies to use in teaching.
  • Explore strategies for testing the effectiveness of their analogies with their audience.
  • Apply concepts learned in the workshop to their own teaching practice using a scaffolding tool.

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the rationale for utilizing analogies in teaching.
  • Cite research that supports the use of analogies in improving transfer of basic science understanding to clinical applications.
  • Create and critique analogies that support concept-based learning and transfer.
  • Assess student-created analogies to assess understanding.