What can Designing Learning-by-Concordance Clinical Reasoning Cases Teach Us about Instruction in the Health Sciences?

Bernard Charlin
Haifa Akremi
Lise Lecours
Marie-France Deschênes
Nicolas Fernandez
Vincent Jobin
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Introduction: Learning-by-concordance (LbC) is an online learning strategy to practice reasoning skills in clinical situations. Writing LbC clinical cases, comprising an initial hypothesis and supplementary data, differs from typical instructional design. We sought to gain a deeper understanding from experienced LbC designers to better support clinician educators’ broader uptake of LbC.

Methods: A dialogic action research approach was selected because it yields triangulated data from a heterogeneous group. We conducted three 90-minute dialogue-group sessions with eight clinical educators. Discussions focused on the challenges and pitfalls of each LbC design stage described in the literature. Recordings were transcribed and analyzed thematically.

Results: We identified three themes by thematic analysis about the challenges inherent in designing LbC that are unique for this type of learning strategy: 1) the distinction between pedagogical intent and learning outcome; 2) the contextual cues used to challenge students and advance their learning and 3) the integration of experiential with formalized knowledge for cognitive apprenticeship.

Discussion: A clinical situation can be experienced and conceptualized in many ways, and multiple responses are appropriate. LbC designers use contextual cues from their experience and combine them with formalized knowledge and protocols to write effective LbC clinical reasoning cases. LbC focuses learners’ attention on decision-making in grey areas that characterize the nature of professional clinical work. This in-depth study on LbC design, indicating the integration of experiential knowledge, might call for new thinking about instructional design.


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