I received an education on the fragility of the experience of pregnant patients I was being taught how to connect with patients during vulnerable periods - and not the obviously sensitive times like codes and traumas - but the ones we aren’t taught about but are equally as important. I don’t pay attention to this type of material because, honestly, I think I’m really good at the bedside. But, looking back at my experience with pregnant patients in the emergency department, I realized I wasn’t nearly as competent or sensitive as I thought,…and this is one of learning’s dangerous secrets.
We don’t know what we don’t know. When we’re weak on something, we study up on it or practice the procedure but the real danger lies in things we think we’re good at but really suck at..we never end up studying these areas
This overconfidence is referred to as the “Dunning-Kruger effect.”
You can see here how these learners on the left, with the least knowledge, vastly over-estimated their level of mastery (the top line), compared with their actual scores (the bottom line). This overconfidence has been shown to be pervasive in medicine and can be dangerous in the clinical setting.
It is possible, however,that when we access FOAM in ways that pushes information to us..like blog aggregators or subscriptions to podcasts or tweets that FOAM harnesses not only the potential for information overload but the potential for strengthening the areas we don’t know that we don’t know.
Learning isn’t as simple as having information.
Effective learning involves hard work. It requires desire, repetition, practice, engaging with and processing material - assessing what we do and don’t know. And I’ve found that FOAM can help learn through these evidence based modalities.
One night while cooking with my iPhone on shuffle, a lecture on vaginal bleeding began playing…I had skipped over the podcast previously because it sounded boring but this time, the risk of covering my iphone in butter and flour to skip ahead outweighed the benefit..but I was surprisingly engaged..
See, the world is full of creative and intelligent people who inspire and challenge us, who teach extraordinarily well through the lectures.
in FOAM, these lectures bubble up to the top - capture our attention and engage us in the material.
Unlike the traditional conference hall, learners can pause to clarify, speed up, or slow down aiding those who are lost or bored.
Pauses allow a learner to think and assess - through clarification or collaboration. Learners can also often pose questions via twitter, email or comments - creating an interactive lecture. So, while, it’s hip to proclaim the lecture dead….I argue something that may be wildly unpopular - there may still be a role for the lecture in medicine.
Now onto something that medical trainees like less than test. Despite our whining, My peers and I would stalk the web for questions/answer sets related to whatever we were studying - biochemistry to vaginal bleeding.