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01-06-2017 | Show and Tell | Uitgave 3/2017 Open Access

Perspectives on Medical Education 3/2017

Learning at large conferences: from the ‘sage on the stage’ to contemporary models of learning

Perspectives on Medical Education > Uitgave 3/2017
Dario Torre, Annalisa Manca, Steven Durning, Janusz Janczukowicz, David Taylor, Jennifer Cleland



To explore and evaluate the affordances of a flipped classroom model applied to a research paper session within the professional development opportunity of a large conference setting.


Authors were invited to present their research papers in a flipped classroom presentation format at two large, multi-national conferences. Before the session, authors and moderators met online to clarify features of the session, and preparation of the material. The research material was then posted online before the conference, to allow access by meeting attendees. During the sessions, moderators encouraged the audience to actively participate. An evaluation form was collected from the audience at the end of each session.


Participants found the session valuable, and appreciated the opportunity to engage in a meaningful dialogue with colleagues. However, the majority of the audience did not access the materials in advance. Lack of time, or technology-related issues were mentioned as potential challenges to such format.


In the context of a large conference, a ‘flipped session’ format can facilitate active learning and a participatory culture of inquiry. However, to change the nature of how individuals learn collaboratively at large conferences means a change in the culture of continuous professional learning.
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