Have you ever had a “conundrum” at work such as a new management directive that you will have to implement knowing that it’s going to be extremely difficult? Here is my new “conundrum” at work … Maybe you could help me.
In 2013, Robert Stiefel, MS, CCE submitted the results to AAMI of their Core Curriculum Project. The AAMI Core Curriculum project consisted of many dedicated educational professionals, industry leaders and employers. The mission was to assemble a list of skills and knowledge necessary for entry-level employment and the knowledge to pass the biomedical certification exam upon graduation.
The overall goal of the project was to produce guidelines for biomedical education institutions and for employers to know what was covered in a program that implemented the project’s competencies and topics.
As the executive summary states, “These competencies and topics will not only provide guidance for these programs, but also help employers know what to expect from entry-level employees who have graduated from these programs.” My “conundrum” begins here, at the implementation. Let me give you some of the issues I’m struggling with.
There are many competencies and topics listed in the curriculum project, but I will only use one area to demonstrate my conundrum. The area of “Medical Equipment” and the knowledge a graduate would supposedly have by employing these core curriculum standards.
According to the core curriculum report, prospective biomeds should learn the following in the area of “Medical Equipment”: Measurement, Signals, Noise, Signal processing and analysis, Fourier analysis, Physiological parameters, Sensors, Battery operated equipment, Electromagnetic interference, Temperature measurements, Pressure/Force/Motion/Flow/Opticel/Electromechanical/biopotential transducers, Biopotential amplifiers, Signal isolation, Electrical noise filtering, Defibrillation protection circuits, Displays, Sphygmomanometers, Stethoscopes, Electrocardiographs, ECG leads and electrodes, and 150 additional such items are listed.
The list of devices mentioned above is from a preliminary document from the AAMI Core Curriculum project and is not the entire list. So here is my conundrum. How do you teach all this information in a two-year program?
Remember, this is only one area of knowledge and the list is very impressive. Other areas have skills and knowledge sets that are just as large and extensive. We also have to squeeze in English classes, math, physics, communications, humanities, social science and more. You can see the time gets shorter and shorter to teach these core competencies.
In the educational world we practice what is known as pedagogy and andragogy. Pedagogy is the science and art of education. Literally translated the word pedagogy means, “to lead the child.” Andragogy consists of teaching strategies focused on adults and these take on different forms to deliver content.
Think of pedagogy as the student having an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge, so we begin filling up the vessel with facts and then we test for retention of those facts. Andragogy works a little different, as adults bring past experiences and knowledge into the classroom a child may not have. Educational theorist have long determined that learning is connecting what we already know to new information. Adult learners perform best when they are what we refer to as self-directed learners, using groups or some form of social interactions and what is referred to as problem-based education. This allows the learners to investigate using new tools, but they can also use experiences and knowledge they already possess. This process has been proven to generate long-term retention of the material covered. However, this process is very time consuming, especially when so many subjects need to be covered.
So, does an instructor use a style of andragogy to teach all this information or use a style of pedagogy which teaches facts but maybe does not address how all the facts fit together for a complete educational experience. I believe AAMI’s core curriculum is a great model for HTM education and I have implemented the learning objectives and goals but my conundrum is how do I teach all the information in the time allotted? Do I use an approach that is more centered on pedagogy and cover more information or use an approach that is more centered on an andragogy approach and cover less material but possibly provide a more in-depth study of the information?
Ah, the joys of curriculum development!
If you have a solution to my conundrum, I would love for you to share it with me.
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