Continuing Medical Education

Learning strategies for medical students Suppose you start studying medicine next year. You will need to acquire a lot of new knowledge. How will you do this? There is a fair chance that you will do this – just like many other students – by reading texts several times, highlighting and summarising them. That is a shame because that is not the most effective way of studying! Research into learning strategies shows that many people study the “wrong” way. For example, if you use these wrong strategies, new information is not properly stored in long-term memory. The use of these methods often makes it harder for people to assess how far they are in their learning process and how well they have mastered the subject matter. By learning the “wrong” way, you not only waste valuable time, but you also end up with lesser results than if you had learned the “right” way. The learning strategies we use the most are often the least effective. There are students who highlight an entire notebook with markers and – although it looks nice and colorful – it does not help them understand or remember the material any better. Highlighting supposedly would make it even harder to make connections in a text, and it distracts from the actual learning process. Re-reading a text is not necessarily effective either. It is a superficial and passive form of studying. You often get the feeling: “Hey, I know this,” but you do not actually pick up a lot of new information and you also do not remember the information any better. Unfortunately, it often gives you the feeling that you have mastered the subject matter while this is not yet the case. So what is the right strategy? In education, insufficient attention is often paid to the use of effective learning strategies. However, you want to know how best to prepare for an exam. So what are actually effective ways to study? Assignment: Write a paper in your own words about learning strategies, using a minimum of 2500 to a maximum of 3500 words*. What is known from the literature about learning strategies? What generally works and what does not? What learning strategies have you been using so far? What do you think of your own learning strategies after reading the literature? Imagine that you are going to try a new learning strategy. Describe the strategy you would choose, explain why, and describe how you would approach this.

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