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      Factors influencing responsiveness to feedback: on the interplay between fear, confidence, and reasoning processes

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          Self-appraisal has repeatedly been shown to be inadequate as a mechanism for performance improvement. This has placed greater emphasis on understanding the processes through which self-perception and external feedback interact to influence professional development. As feedback is inevitably interpreted through the lens of one’s self-perceptions it is important to understand how learners interpret, accept, and use feedback (or not) and the factors that influence those interpretations. 134 participants from 8 health professional training/continuing competence programs were recruited to participate in focus groups. Analyses were designed to (a) elicit understandings of the processes used by learners and physicians to interpret, accept and use (or not) data to inform their perceptions of their clinical performance, and (b) further understand the factors (internal and external) believed to influence interpretation of feedback. Multiple influences appear to impact upon the interpretation and uptake of feedback. These include confidence, experience, and fear of not appearing knowledgeable. Importantly, however, each could have a paradoxical effect of both increasing and decreasing receptivity. Less prevalent but nonetheless important themes suggested mechanisms through which cognitive reasoning processes might impede growth from formative feedback. Many studies have examined the effectiveness of feedback through variable interventions focused on feedback delivery. This study suggests that it is equally important to consider feedback from the perspective of how it is received. The interplay observed between fear, confidence, and reasoning processes reinforces the notion that there is no simple recipe for the delivery of effective feedback. These factors should be taken into account when trying to understand (a) why self-appraisal can be flawed, (b) why appropriate external feedback is vital (yet can be ineffective), and (c) why we may need to disentangle the goals of performance improvement from the goals of improving self-assessment.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Deliberate practice and the acquisition and maintenance of expert performance in medicine and related domains.

           K. Ericsson (2004)
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            Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments.

            People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.
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              Test-enhanced learning in medical education.

              In education, tests are primarily used for assessment, thus permitting teachers to assess the efficacy of their curriculum and to assign grades. However, research in cognitive psychology has shown that tests can also directly affect learning by promoting better retention of information, a phenomenon known as the testing effect. Cognitive psychology laboratory studies show that repeated testing of information produces superior retention relative to repeated study, especially when testing is spaced out over time. Tests that require effortful retrieval of information, such as short-answer tests, promote better retention than tests that require recognition, such as multiple-choice tests. The mnemonic benefits of testing are further enhanced by feedback, which helps students to correct errors and confirm correct answers. Medical educational research has focused extensively on assessment issues. Such assessment research permits the conclusion that clinical expertise is founded on a broad fund of knowledge and effective memory networks that allow easy access to that knowledge. Test-enhanced learning can potentially strengthen clinical knowledge that will lead to improved expertise. Tests should be given often and spaced out in time to promote better retention of information. Questions that require effortful recall produce the greatest gains in memory. Feedback is crucial to learning from tests. Test-enhanced learning may be an effective tool for medical educators to use in promoting retention of clinical knowledge.

                Author and article information

                Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract
                Advances in Health Sciences Education
                Springer Netherlands (Dordrecht )
                6 April 2011
                6 April 2011
                March 2012
                : 17
                : 1
                : 15-26
                [1 ]Centre for Health Education Scholarship, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4E3 Canada
                [2 ]University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
                [3 ]American Board of Internal Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3699 USA
                [4 ]Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R2 Canada
                © The Author(s) 2011
                Custom metadata
                © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012


                self-assessment, confidence, self-appraisal, performance improvement, feedback


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