Medical College of Wisconsin
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Individual learning plans foster self-directed learning skills and contribute to improved educational outcomes in the surgery clerkship. Am J Surg 2018 07;216(1):160-166



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85044361417   7 Citations


BACKGROUND: The Individual Learning Plan (ILP) is a newly implemented curricular element designed to foster self-directed learning (SDL) skills among medical students during our surgery clerkship. Our aim was to determine the impact of ILPs on educational outcomes and acquisition of SDL skills.

METHODS: Students were surveyed regarding the educational value of ILPs, their acquisition of SDL skills, and the impact of the surgery clerkship on fostering these skills. Mean scores for the NBME surgery subject exam (SSE) were compared before and after implementation of the ILP requirement.

RESULTS: Students perceived the ILP requirement as having strong educational value. Mean scores for the SSE increased significantly in the year following ILP implementation (74.9 vs 76.6; p = .042; d = 0.21). Students reported successful acquisition and frequent utilization of SDL skills.

CONCLUSIONS: SDL exercises, such as the ILP requirement, lead to improved education outcomes while fostering the acquisition of SDL skills.

Author List

Kastenmeier AS, Redlich PN, Fihn C, Treat R, Chou R, Homel A, Lewis BD


Andrew Sean Kastenmeier MD Associate Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Brian D. Lewis MD Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Philip N. Redlich MD, PhD Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Robert W. Treat PhD Associate Professor in the Academic Affairs department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Clinical Clerkship
Clinical Competence
Education, Medical, Undergraduate
Educational Measurement
General Surgery
jenkins-FCD Prod-480 9a4deaf152b0b06dd18151814fff2e18f6c05280