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Differences in procedural knowledge after a “ spaced ” and a “ massed ” version of an intensive course in emergency medicine, investigating a very short spacing interval

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ABSTRACT

Background: Distributing a fixed amount of teaching hours over a longer time period (spaced approach) may result in better learning than delivering the same amount of teaching within a shorter time (massed approach). While a spaced approach may provide more opportunities to elaborate the learning content, a massed approach allows for more economical utilisation of teaching facilities and to optimise time resources of faculty. Favourable effects of spacing have been demonstrated for postgraduate surgery training and for spacing intervals of weeks to months. It is however unknown, whether a spacing effect can also be observed for shorter intervals and in undergraduate medical education. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the effect of a short spacing intervention within an undergraduate intensive course in emergency medicine (EM) on students’ procedural knowledge.

Methods: An EM intensive course of 26 teaching hours was delivered over either 4.5 days, or 3.0 days. After the course students’ procedural knowledge was assessed by a specifically developed video-case based key-feature test (KF-test).

Results: Data sets of 156 students (81.7 %, 191 students eligible) were analysed, 54 from the spaced, and 102 from the massed version. In the KF-test students from the spaced version reached a mean of 14.8 (SD 2.0) out of 22 points, compared to 13.7 (SD 2.0) in the massed version (p = .002). Effect size was moderate (Cohen’s d: 0.558).

Conclusion: A significant spacing effect was observable even for a short spacing interval in undergraduate medical education. This effect was only moderate and may be weighed against planning needs of faculty and teaching resources.

Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12909-016-0770-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

No MeSH data available.


Study design: Distribution of 26 teaching hours (45 min encounter) of an intensive course in emergency medicine over 4.5 days (spaced version, light grey boxes), and 3.0 days (massed version, dark grey boxes). The massed course version was delivered with three different time intervals between course and assessment: 8 days, 3 days, and 0 days. KF-Test: “Key-Feature test”
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Fig2: Study design: Distribution of 26 teaching hours (45 min encounter) of an intensive course in emergency medicine over 4.5 days (spaced version, light grey boxes), and 3.0 days (massed version, dark grey boxes). The massed course version was delivered with three different time intervals between course and assessment: 8 days, 3 days, and 0 days. KF-Test: “Key-Feature test”

Mentions: All students were assigned to one of the two course versions according to the standard rotation plan for all clinical courses of the term. The EM course included 26 teaching hours (of 45 min each), which were spread over either 4.5 days, or 3.0 days. Courses of the spaced version were distributed over a whole week (4.5 days), leaving each afternoon to the students for free time, or self-regulated learning. Course assessment was performed at the end of the fifth morning. Aim of the massed approach was to fit three courses into a 2 week period, leaving the last day of the 2 weeks for assessment of all students. These organisational issues caused that massed courses had different time spans between course and assessment day (0, 3, 8 days), see Fig. 2. Therefore, we also compared test results between these sub-groups in order to estimate a potential influence of this difference.Fig. 2


Differences in procedural knowledge after a “ spaced ” and a “ massed ” version of an intensive course in emergency medicine, investigating a very short spacing interval
Study design: Distribution of 26 teaching hours (45 min encounter) of an intensive course in emergency medicine over 4.5 days (spaced version, light grey boxes), and 3.0 days (massed version, dark grey boxes). The massed course version was delivered with three different time intervals between course and assessment: 8 days, 3 days, and 0 days. KF-Test: “Key-Feature test”
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5037615&req=5

Fig2: Study design: Distribution of 26 teaching hours (45 min encounter) of an intensive course in emergency medicine over 4.5 days (spaced version, light grey boxes), and 3.0 days (massed version, dark grey boxes). The massed course version was delivered with three different time intervals between course and assessment: 8 days, 3 days, and 0 days. KF-Test: “Key-Feature test”
Mentions: All students were assigned to one of the two course versions according to the standard rotation plan for all clinical courses of the term. The EM course included 26 teaching hours (of 45 min each), which were spread over either 4.5 days, or 3.0 days. Courses of the spaced version were distributed over a whole week (4.5 days), leaving each afternoon to the students for free time, or self-regulated learning. Course assessment was performed at the end of the fifth morning. Aim of the massed approach was to fit three courses into a 2 week period, leaving the last day of the 2 weeks for assessment of all students. These organisational issues caused that massed courses had different time spans between course and assessment day (0, 3, 8 days), see Fig. 2. Therefore, we also compared test results between these sub-groups in order to estimate a potential influence of this difference.Fig. 2

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background: Distributing a fixed amount of teaching hours over a longer time period (spaced approach) may result in better learning than delivering the same amount of teaching within a shorter time (massed approach). While a spaced approach may provide more opportunities to elaborate the learning content, a massed approach allows for more economical utilisation of teaching facilities and to optimise time resources of faculty. Favourable effects of spacing have been demonstrated for postgraduate surgery training and for spacing intervals of weeks to months. It is however unknown, whether a spacing effect can also be observed for shorter intervals and in undergraduate medical education. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the effect of a short spacing intervention within an undergraduate intensive course in emergency medicine (EM) on students’ procedural knowledge.

Methods: An EM intensive course of 26 teaching hours was delivered over either 4.5 days, or 3.0 days. After the course students’ procedural knowledge was assessed by a specifically developed video-case based key-feature test (KF-test).

Results: Data sets of 156 students (81.7 %, 191 students eligible) were analysed, 54 from the spaced, and 102 from the massed version. In the KF-test students from the spaced version reached a mean of 14.8 (SD 2.0) out of 22 points, compared to 13.7 (SD 2.0) in the massed version (p = .002). Effect size was moderate (Cohen’s d: 0.558).

Conclusion: A significant spacing effect was observable even for a short spacing interval in undergraduate medical education. This effect was only moderate and may be weighed against planning needs of faculty and teaching resources.

Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12909-016-0770-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

No MeSH data available.