For medical students
– Choose a single, well-defined topic that you are motivated to commit to.
– Defining specific learning objectives, establishing a content blueprint, and developing appropriate teaching points requires a broad and preferably inter-disciplinary review process, as different stakeholders will have different and valuable perspectives. Seek advice from many sources, including both content-specific and medical education experts. This will be the beginning of your network.
– Ground your work in appropriate research. Conducting a literature review will help refine the project’s aims and identify strategies to achieve them. Collecting baseline data will help define your educational focus and measure the impact of your work.
a. Not only will these results influence faculty decisions regarding the validity of your work, but they are also the basis for any publications.
– When collaborating with other students, as a general rule in project management, empowering those involved is more effective than directing orders.
– Ensuring the long-term sustainability of your work requires high-level policy change. This is facilitated if you are able to identify motivated peers that can take over when you have to move on. Additionally, being mentored by a large organization is often associated with increased resources and opportunities to scale-up.
– Endorsement adds important weight to the credibility of your work, so actively seek opportunities to showcase your work and receive funding support
For medical educators
– Consider how students’ topics of interest might be aligned with curricular objectives.
– Encourage students to develop a scholarly, evidence-based approach to educational innovations.
– Emphasize that the development of educational interventions should be informed by evidence from the medical education literature inasmuch as healthcare interventions are guided by the medical literature.
– Provide literature on the curricular design process, survey development and needs assessments (Medical education-specific guides are readily available (e.g. AMEE))
– Explore with students the notion of ‘validity’ as an evidence-based ‘argument’ supporting or refuting the defensibility of an educational tool, program or intervention .
– Encourage students to devise strategies for ongoing course or program evaluation through the introduction of relevant frameworks, such as Kirkpatrick’s .
– Guide students toward relevant medical education conferences and award opportunities