>How to be a good learner?

>There hasn’t been all that much of wicked exciting events to blog about as of late. I have been staying on top of other blogs though, especially the “academic” ones and trying to think ahead to internship and how I am going to be a good and active learner here in a few months. I’ve never been one much for lectures, and find that I take away very little from them at face value. During the first two years of medical school, when everything was based on lectures, I never actually went to class. I’d stay home, watch the lectures as they were posted online, and as I watched, write flashcards based on the facts presented using Anki (best flashcard system out there in my opinion).  I also used this method to study for boards. I would do the USMLE world question bank, any question I missed, I would turn the facts presented in the answer discussion into flash cards. 

So thinking ahead, from my limited experience, I anticipate learning in three major ways
1. Conference – 5 hours per week of traditional type lectures. Its my understanding that we won’t be allowed to watch from home, (booo!). But I’d hope these lectures would be recorded for review later, or at least the slides made available. Realistically, will I have time to go back and look at them? Maybe, maybe not. So do I bring my laptop and write flash cards during the presentation? This will have to be worked out.
2. Textbook Reading – I have heard that most people try to read through the entirety of Rosen’s during their three years. For me, reading a text book is the least effective way for me to learn. Goes in one ear, out the other. If I did read, I’d definitely Anki it as I went along. It has been done before but not using Anki, more traditional summary flash cards, which kinda just seem like reading to me, but hey, who am I to judge. 
3. Patient directed reading/learning – This IS effective for me, and probably the best way for me to learn, and will hopefully be the most used method. When I can put a face with disease, encode the information in multiple modes, including muscle memory, things tend to stick for me.
My point in thinking about all this, is that I just don’t want to learn for the sake of passing boards in a few years. I want to learn to learn, to be a better doctor and serve my patients better. So if I am going to put in all this effort, I want to actually remember it. So if anyone has suggestions, things that worked or things that didn’t, I’d love to hear about it.

About ER Jedi

I’m a resident doctor in Emergency Medicine and I’ve learned during the past few years that 1) I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences 2) I have a very bad short-term memory. So this blog is just a place for me to write about some of these experiences, from the ER, medical school, the wards and life in general. At least that way I’ll have some idea as to where I’ve been all this time. A scrap-book of sorts, a place to vent, organize some clinical tools and post a few good songs I’ve heard along the way.

Posted on March 13, 2011, in Medical School, Residency. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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