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      Participating in a Community of Learners enhances resident perceptions of learning in an e-mentoring program: proof of concept

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          Abstract

          Background

          Community learning and e-mentoring, learning methods used in higher education, are not used to any extent in residency education. Yet both have the potential to enhance resident learning and, in the case of community learning, introduce residents to basic lifelong learning skills. We set out to determine whether residents participating in an Internet based e-mentoring program would, with appropriate facilitation, form a community of learners (CoL) and hold regular community meetings. We also determined resident and faculty perceptions of CoL and Internet sessions as effective learning experiences.

          Methods

          A six-month e-mentoring pilot was offered to 10 Radiology residents in the Aga Khan University Postgraduate Medical Education Program in Nairobi, Kenya (AKUHN) with a Professor of Radiology, located at University of Virginia, USA, acting as the e-mentor. Monthly Internet case-based teaching sessions were facilitated by the e-mentor. In addition, residents were coached by a community facilitator to form CoL and collectively work through clinical cases at weekly face-to-face CoL sessions.

          Event logs described observed resident activity at CoL sessions; exit survey and interviews were used to elicit perceptions of CoL and Internet sessions as effective learning experiences.

          Results

          Resident adoption of CoL behaviors was observed, including self-regulation, peer mentoring and collaborative problem solving. Analysis revealed high resident enthusiasm and value for CoL. Surveys and interviews indicated high levels of acceptance of Internet learning experiences, although there was room for improvement in audio-visual transmission technologies. Faculty indicated there was a need for a larger multi-specialty study.

          Conclusions

          The pilot demonstrated resident acceptance of community building and collaborative learning as valued learning experiences, addressing one barrier to its formal adoption in residency education curricula. It also highlighted the potential of e-mentoring as a means of expanding faculty and teaching materials in residency programs in developing countries.

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          Most cited references7

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          Research on Cooperative Learning and Achievement: What We Know, What We Need to Know

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            Researching the community of inquiry framework: Review, issues, and future directions

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              Making cooperative learning work

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Med Educ
                BMC Medical Education
                BioMed Central
                1472-6920
                2011
                25 January 2011
                : 11
                : 3
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Postgraduate Medical Education Director, Aga Khan University, Nairobi, Kenya
                [2 ]Professor of Radiology, Department of Radiology, University of Virginia Health System, Virginia USA
                [3 ]Director of Research, Radiological Society of North America, 820 Jorie Blvd, Oak Brook, IL, 60523, USA
                [4 ]Professor emeritus, University of Calgary, Consultant Community Learning, Calgary, Canada
                Article
                1472-6920-11-3
                10.1186/1472-6920-11-3
                3041783
                21266070
                dc9512e1-eb1a-4cb2-9a8b-d01dc5d05b74
                Copyright ©2011 Obura et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 29 June 2010
                : 25 January 2011
                Categories
                Research Article

                Education
                Education

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