Summary: In his latest blog Professor Harden looks at visions of the future medical school detailed in the October 2018 issue of Medical Teacher, means of improving just-in-time learning through education research, increasing international connections in medical education, and more. Description: Best wishes to all readers for 2019 and your ongoing engagement and contributions to medical education

The future of medical education
The October issue of Medical Teacher includes six different visions of the future medical school. Leading medical educationists each with experience of setting up two or more medical schools were asked to describe their vision for the medical school of the future. My own article describing Ten key features of the future medical school – not an impossible dream has attracted attention, was used as a framework for a planning away day at the University of Notre Dame, Australia. Others have written to support the direction of travel I describe and to say they are already on the way to achieving at least some of the ten targets.

Use of education research by teachers
The new AMEE askAMEE initiative aims to provide teachers in the health care process with just-in-time evidence informed advice that can assist them in their day-to-day work as a teacher (

Writing in the Autumn 2018 issue of the British Education Research Association’s Research Intelligence Tim Cain looks at teachers’ use of academic research, arguing for an increased mutual understanding between researchers and teachers. Sometimes a strong commitment to research informed practice can lead to intolerant treatment by “research informed” enthusiasts of their less “enlightened” colleagues. He describes how schools can use research to open up matters for debate and critique. Some have an annual research conference or a research seminar series. Schools also fund staff to attend conferences and thereby discover new ideas from the research presented. Unfortunately staff at universities may get funded to attend a conference only if they are describing their own research or giving a paper but not if they are there to listen and take home suggestions for improvements in their school. I wonder if a system could be put into place whereby an individual’s conference costs would be refunded by a school if they come home with an idea that has an impact on their own curriculum or education programme.

International connections
Networking is an important feature of the AMEE Annual Conference with the opportunity to establish new contacts. Yvonne Steinert tells me that she has recently been in Monterey this week teaching about professionalism and identity information. One of the participants at a previous workshop on the topic she had given at an AMEE Conference felt the topic was important and wanted her to develop the theme further in Monterey. Adi Haramati tells me that he also has had a number of invitations following his plenary presentation at AMEE on Mindfulness and Wellbeing. My daughter, Jennifer, who contributed to a previous meeting on Teaching Behavioural Science was invited to present her work at meetings in Chile and Japan. I am sure others have had similar experiences.

Schools using lecture capture
Working on the new askAMEE initiative on the questions asked about lectures, I became interested in the use of lecture capture – the recording of a lecture for use later by students. From being a fringe activity this now appears to be the norm. An article in Times Higher Education 20/27 December 2018 reports that its use in universities has become prolific. A survey in 2017 found that 86% of higher education institutions now have lecture capture technology on site. The question is not whether to use lecture capture or not but rather how to use it most effectively. Emily Nordmann, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Glasgow and colleagues have published a pre-print paper “Lecture capture: practical recommendations for students and lecturers”. The advice is that the lecture capture does not replace the lecture but supplements it.

Do we need more social emotional learning?
I find Educational Leadership an interesting read. My interest in outcome-based education was first stimulated by a series of articles in the journal. The October 2018 issue features social-emotional learning and has a series of articles on the topic. Social-emotional learning (SEL), it is argued, should be put on par with academic competencies. Social-emotional skills as discussed include character skills, interpersonal skills, noncognative abilities, or soft skills (a misnomer). Research has shown that well-designed SEL programmes can increase the student’s academic achievement and improve their life outcomes. The authors featured in the issue lay out a range of ways to strengthen social-emotional skills in students. Mark Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, discusses how the skills of emotional intelligence can be integrated into the curriculum. Angela Duckworth discusses what she sees as misconceptions about her research on Grit, highlighting the importance of interpersonal character strengths. Perhaps SEL is an area where we need to pay more attention in medical education. Perhaps it is something I should have emphasised more when I looked to the medical school of the future in my article in the October issue of Medical Teacher.

What’s new in selection?
Selection is on today’s agenda in medical education. The 23 papers on the subject published recently in the themed issue of AMEE MedEdPublish make an important contribution. The highlights are summarised in the closing editorial by Fiona Patterson and colleagues which is well worth reading. Research on selection and recruitment in medical education is clearly moving beyond evaluation of selection methods to consider more complex topics, including social accountability and diversity issues. New technologies have an important role to play. As has become apparent, there is increasing emphasis on non-academic personal attributes in selection.

Further support for publication before peer review
Times Higher Education (8th November 2018) reports that where there is a significant public health benefit to research being shared widely and rapidly, it should be placed on an approved platform that supports immediate publication of the complete manuscript prior to peer review. Plan S is a plan that will require all research funded by participating bodies in Europe to be made freely and immediately available through an open access platform as of January 2020. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which invests about $960,000,000 per year in global health initiatives has also signed up to Plan S.