Author: Zlotoff B and Johnson E Publication Year: 2012
Summary: Problem Based Learning (PBL) has been heavily studied in undergraduate medical education but its use in graduate medical education (GME) lacks rigorous study and review. This narrative review outlines the outcomes of PBL.
Description: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education(ACGME) has recently made innovative changes to program evaluation and accreditation. The introduction of core competencies in 2002 and the Next Accreditation System (NAS) in 2012 have changed the focus of accreditation to core competencies and outcome-based measures, spurring the use of new teaching techniques and assessment tools.

Problem Based Learning (PBL) has been heavily studied in undergraduate medical education but its use in graduate medical education (GME) lacks rigorous study and review. This narrative review outlines the outcomes of PBL established by its use in undergraduate medical education and compares them to the ACGME core competencies to determine the potential utility of PBL in residency curriculums. This article demonstrates that PBL outcomes correspond with specific ACGME competencies: Patient care, Practice based learning and improvement, Interpersonal and communication skills, and Professionalism.

This overlap of PBL outcomes and ACGME core competencies reveals unique opportunities for teaching difficult to instruct aspects of the residency curriculum. Particularly of interest is the potential use of PBL to instruct the more nuanced aspects of the medical profession such as patient communication that have previously been relegated to the “art of medicine” and not been adequately covered in existing curriculums.

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