Educational Design & Administration

Competency-based medical education


Critical thinking & reflection

Dalhousie undergraduate program concept maps | Lynette Reid, PhD

Making tests & writing multiple-choice questions (MCQs)



Suggested readings

Anderson T, Elloumi F, editors. Theory and practice of online learning. 1st ed. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press; 2004.
This book “is concerned with assisting providers of online education with useful tools to carry out the teaching and learning transactions online. It presents, in an easily readable form, the theory, administration, tools, and methods of designing and delivering learning online” (from book link).
Cooke M, Irby DM, O'Brien, BC. Educating physicians: a call for reform of medical school and residencySan Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2010. This book could appropriately be called “The Flexner Report – the Sequel.” It was commissioned by the Carnegie Foundation and sampled only 11 medical schools. Current topics such as professional identity formation, self-management, advocacy, and competency-based education are covered. If there is one book to read on medical education this is probably it, although, it is unlikely to achieve the lasting status of the Flexner Report.
Cruess RL, Cruess SR, Steinert Y, editors. Teaching medical professionalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2009. Compiled by Canadian experts on teaching professionalism, this book covers a variety of topics related to teaching and learning professionalism including faculty development and remediation. It is an easy book to read, with a nice mixture of practical and theoretical information.

Dewey J. Experience and education. New York: The Macmillan Company; 1938. While this classic text is not specific to medical education it emphasized the role of experience. Dewey was interested in the environment in which teaching and learning takes place, and the power structures that exist. His ideas revolutionized the way teaching occurs at all levels.
Flexner A. Medical education in the United States and Canada: a report to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (Bulletin No.4). Boston: Updyke; 1910. This is the book that defined modern medical education and established medicine as a profession. Abraham Flexner was commissioned by the Carnegie Foundation to survey medical schools in Canada and the US and to make recommendations regarding standardization of medical education. He chose as his model the scientific approach used in German medical schools, which had also been adopted at Johns Hopkins. This is a book to read for historical interest
Knowles M. The adult learner: a neglected species. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company; 1973. This seminal book on adult learning suggests that learning in adulthood differs from childhood pedagogy because of: 1) changes in self-concept, 2) the role of experience, 3) readiness to learn, and 4) orientation to learning. For those interested in applying his ideas to medical education, it would probably make sense to read one of the later editions.
Lave J, Wenger E. Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1991.

This brief book explores how learners develop into skilled practitioners as they move from legitimate peripheral participation toward greater responsibility. This book, which includes other “apprenticeship” learning, has been very influential in medical education. It is not a light read, but it would interest anyone wanting to learn more about theoretical frameworks underlying practice-based education and situated learning.
Osler W. Aequanimitas: with other addresses to medical students, nurses, and practitioners of medicine. Philadelphia: P. Blakiston's Son & Co; 1910. This is just one of many books written by Sir William Osler, the legendary Canadian physician who pioneered clinical teaching. Osler is not an easy read but there is poetry in his essays which may appeal to literary readers. There are physicians who become Osler fans/fanatics and join societies, attend meetings, etc. His writings are available free online should you want to sample them.
Twenge JM. Generation me: why today’s young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled – and more miserable than ever before. New York: Free Press, Simon & Schuster; 2006. While not specifically about medicine, this easy-to-read book provides fascinating insights into the Millennial generation. Twenge has written articles on generational issues in medical education as well.


Peets A, Ayas NT. Restricting resident work hours: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Crit Care Med. 2012; 40(3):960 – 966. (Available at Dal libraries)







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