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Medical Education
Center for Faculty Educators

Presenting Your Work: Scholarship Opportunities for Educational Research

Photo provided courtesy of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)

If you are looking for an opportunity to present and share your educational scholarship, the American Educational Research Association's (AERA) annual meeting provides an optimal environment and is a popular conference with our CFE Educational Research team. Presenters have the opportunity to receive feedback from colleagues worldwide and gain valuable perspective on their work before submitting for publication or formal presentation.

Academy member and doctoral candidate Justin Sewell, MD, MPH, is just one of CFE’s doctoral candidates who presented this past April and offered his perspective on the experience. In addition to Dr. Sewell, CFE’s other doctoral candidates presented: Judith Bowen, MD; Leslie Floren, MD; and Jody Steinauer, MD. We look forward to highlighting their education research in future posts.

In April, I attended and presented my research on cognitive load theory and colonoscopy training at the AERA annual meeting. The annual meeting was the second time I had attended AERA, so, unlike the preceding year, I prepared for the enormity of the meeting, which involves educators and education researchers of every setting imaginable from around the world! Huge conferences can be overwhelming, but the tempered magnitude of the overall meeting occurs by the fact that the division in which medical education fits (Division I – Education in the Professions) is a relatively small group.

I like to contrast AERA with the more familiar medical conferences that I have long attended. Such conferences often feel to me like a dog-eat-dog, competitive spectacle in which the purpose of post-presentation questions is to criticize and denigrate the research presented, and where the "establishment" faculty receive all the limelight. In contrast, AERA feels like a welcoming and inclusive event in which research is valued and commended, which affords even new attendees with respect and appreciation. Faculty respect and appreciation do not imply that there is no scrutiny of the research – it is, but constructively and with the goal of benefiting the researcher’s future endeavors. 

It was rewarding to spend time with the members of Division I, many of whom I met last year, and some of whom I have written with recently. Despite the fact that this was only my second AERA, I was asked to chair a session, which was a new and rewarding experience for me. For the serious educator or education researcher, AERA provides excellent opportunities to present, listen, and network, and I recommend it highly!

Justin Sewell, MD, MPH

Learner, Patient, and Supervisor Features Are Associated With Different Types of Cognitive Load During Procedural Skills Training: Implications for Teaching and Instructional Design
Justin L. Sewell, MD, MPH, Christy K. Boscardin, PhD, John Q. Young, MD, PhD, Olle ten Cate, PhD, and Patricia S. O’Sullivan, EdD

AERA's presentation submissions are accepted annually, starting in the spring and due in late July. The 2017 submission date has passed, but CFE will broadcast 2018 dates as soon as they are available. Please check AERA's Events and Meeting page for information or updates. CFE maintains resources on our website to support your research efforts, check our CFE's Research and Innovation section for information. In addition, we offer opportunities to provide feedback and support your research. Please contact us if you need assistance at