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|Title:||The Effect of Conceptual and Contextual Teaching Strategies for the Transfer of Basic Science Knowledge in Medical Education|
|Authors:||Kulasegaram, Mahan Kulamakan|
|Department:||Clinical Health Sciences (Health Research Methodology)|
|Keywords:||Transfer;Basic Science;Education;Cognition;Practice;Cognitive Psychology;Medical Education;Cognitive Psychology|
|Abstract:||<p>Application of previously learned knowledge to new problems or contexts is a cognitive process known as transfer. Undergraduate medical education is optimized when learners are able to transfer basic science knowledge to clinical learning. A long history of transfer research suggests that spontaneous transfer of conceptual knowledge is not easy for learners, thus creating an educational challenge during undergraduate training. However, not all transfer tasks are equally difficult. When conceptual problems are presented in familiar contexts (e.g. similar surface details or semantic content in word problems), this <em>near </em>transfer is facilitated for learners. But when contextual familiarity does not exist, the problem is one of <em>far </em>transfer and becomes more difficult. Previous research suggests that using contextual information and focusing on conceptual teaching can improve transfer performance for novices.</p> <p>This thesis investigates how emphasizing contextual information versus conceptual information can impact transfer of principles of physics relevant to physiology (the concepts) to different organ systems (the contexts). Across three experimental studies, students were assigned to different learning and practice conditions where conceptual and contextual teaching were manipulated. The results showed 1) while emphasizing conceptual information can improve transfer, contextual alignment (near transfer) between learning and problem solving had the highest performance for all students. 2) Novices use contextual information as</p> <p>recognition cues for new problems but can be shifted to examine deep conceptual structure when provided with in-depth conceptual teaching as well as varying the number of contexts used to practice concepts. This shifts novices to equal success at near and far transfer. 3) Novices can revert to relying on contextual information if teaching interventions do not provide contextual variation and instead promote a close association between contextual details and conceptual information.</p> <p>This research suggests that shifting novices to examine conceptual problems at the deep structure level should be a key goal for teaching basic science for transfer. Novices default to using surface details to encode and retrieve conceptual information. While in some near transfer problems this can be an effective strategy, for far transfer it can lead to errors. Basic science teaching during undergraduate training must emphasize transferability of concepts by providing more relatable ways to understand conceptual information and showing the variation of a concept’s presentation.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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