An Instructional Design Approach For Medical Professionals



The medical profession is extremely unique because of the manner in which education and training translates into immediate and real-time patient care. Infact, the profession is enriched largely by trainee nurses, medical interns, allied healthcare workers, pharmacists, and graduate doctors and they are the ones who work most closely with patients.  In reality there is no other way for trainees to gain experience without interacting first-hand with patients. Medical educators are often faced with the risk of providing unstructured and informal instructions while designing courses. This is why the Instructional Design methodology is one of the most reliable and strong techniques of education for medical professionals.

While there are several instructional design models that you can base your curriculum on, the ADDIE model is a popular one followed by many medical educators.

Analysis (A):

This phase involves a very careful analysis of the needs of the learners that are being trained. The operant thought is that the program will differ according to the varying needs of the different learners, based on the roles and functions they are expected to perform.

Development (D):

This phase involves detailing the learning outcomes and performance goals for the instructional events. Well formulated objectives will aid in the development of a sound curriculum that serves as a guide to the instructors as well as the learners themselves.

Design (D):

The Design phase involves taking the learnings from the first two phases and then designing specific activities, events and instruction, keeping in mind learning outcomes, in order to achieve the objectives. It is at this phase that the medium of instruction is also decided. At this stage, it is important to test the curriculum that has been designed in order to ensure it is sound and beneficial to the medical professionals it is created for.

Implementation (I):

This phase involves actually deploying the curriculum and administering it to the group being trained. It is necessary to have a plan for the implementation as it is possible that even a well-conceived instructional design program can fail if it is poorly implemented.

Evaluation (E):

This is a two-pronged phase where the evaluation does not remain specific to only the learning outcomes of the learners but also the evaluation of the instructional program and how successfully it sticks to the objectives laid down for learning. This serves as a way to restructure the program according to what works and eliminate what does not.

The methods and standards of medical education become extremely important as the instruction must be uniform in order to achieve the desired patient care and reduce easily avoidable medical errors. This is one of the models that can serve as the blueprint that stipulates the type, amount, and order of learning that will take place. An instructional design approach ensures clarity and uniformity of learning objectives, checks for alignment of instruction and learning with the objectives, ensures standardisation of learning amongst trainees and safeguards the accuracy of assessments that are used to determine competency.

Instructional Design methodology is a system of instruction where the emphasis is more on how to learn rather than how to teach. Since the medical profession is such where new skills learned will continue to be used throughout the entire career of a healthcare worker, it becomes all the more important to plan a curriculum carefully. A well-designed program will encourage learners to apply new and prior knowledge to the assignments that they have at hand, thereby, serving as a structured curriculum that allows medical professionals to have a comparable learning experience.