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Effective Medical Physics Educational Activities: Models and Methods

P Sprawls

P Sprawls1*, (1) Sprawls Educational Foundation, Montreat, NC


MO-C-9A-1 Monday 10:15AM - 11:10AM Room: 9A

Medical physics is learned in a combination of activities including classroom sessions, individual study, small-group collaborative problem solving, and direct experience in the laboratory or clinical environment. Each type of learning activity is characterized by its effectiveness in producing the desired knowledge for the learner and the cost in terms of resources and human effort required providing it. While learning and teaching is a human activity, modern technology provides a variety of tools that can be used to enhance human performance. The class or conference room is the common setting for educational sessions in both academic institutions and continuing education conferences and programs such as those sponsored by the AAPM. A major value of a class/conference room program is efficiency by bringing a group of learners together to share in a common learning experience under the guidance of one or more experienced learning facilitators (lecturers or presenters). A major challenge is that the class/conference room is separated from the real world of medical physics. The design of an educational activity needs to take into consideration the desired outcomes with respect to what the learners should be able to do. The distinction is that of being able to apply the knowledge to perform specific physics functions rather than just knowing and being able to recall facts, and perhaps do well on written examinations. These are different types of knowledge structures within the human brain and distinctly different learning activities to develop each. Much of medical physics education, especially at the post-graduate and continuing education level, is for the purpose of enhancing the ability of physicists and other related professionals to perform applied procedures and tasks and requires specific types of knowledge.

In this session we will analyze various learning activity models, the values and limitations of each, and how they can be used in medical physics education. An example we will use is optimizing CT image quality and dose which is an important topic for medical physicists, radiologists and residents, along with technologists. The knowledge structure for this is best developed by a combination of learning activities including class/conference discussions, individual study and review, and direct observation and interaction in the clinical setting under the direction of a knowledgeable leader.

The function of the human brain will be considered with respect to learning experiences that contribute to effective medical physics knowledge structures. The characteristics of various types of educational activities will be compared with respect to their effectiveness for producing desired outcomes along with their limitations. Emphasis will be given to the design of highly-effective classroom/conference presentations, and activities will be demonstrated with an emphasis on using technology to enhance human performance of both learners and the learning facilitators.

Learning Objectives:
1. Develop and provide highly effective medical physics educational sessions.
2. Use technology to enhance human performance in the educational process.
3. Identify and analyze various models of educational activities
4. Select and use educational activities that contribute value to the medical physics profession


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