The Reluctant Learner

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The Reluctant Learner. Shoumita Dasgupta, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Angela Jackson, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Karen Symes , PhD Associate Professor of Biochemistry. Goals of the session:. Define Reluctant Learner Diagnose the reluctant learner - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • The Reluctant LearnerShoumita Dasgupta, PhDAssociate Professor of Medicine

    Angela Jackson, MDAssociate Professor of Medicine

    Karen Symes, PhDAssociate Professor of Biochemistry

  • Goals of the session:Define Reluctant LearnerDiagnose the reluctant learnerDiscuss effective approaches to engage the reluctant learner

  • The Reluctant Learner

    Definition:A learner who appears not to be eager, willing and ready to learn what you want to teach

  • Reluctance is not a permanent personality trait, but a modifiable state

  • Approach the reluctant learner as you would an experiment

  • STEP 1- Generate a hypothesisSTEP 2 Use intervention to test the hypothesisSTEP 3- If intervention is not working, modify the hypothesis

  • 1- Generate a hypothesis

    You are in the middle of facilitating a small group discussion when one student takes out her cell phone to send a text message. Later on, she appears to be staring out the window.



  • 1- Generate a hypothesis:Diagnose the Learner:


  • Does the learner:

    Have a problem with Attitude?- judgmental- bleeding heart who cant set limitsLack Skill?- unable to put knowledge to practical use- uncomfortable asking the questionsLack Knowledge?- clinical relevance of material- missing some background information

  • Generate a hypothesis for Educators:

    Example:TeacherLearnerContentAppears BoredToo longwinded?

    Monotone?Exhausted from all-nighterJust reviewed this in another class? Distracted by life? Scientific relevance not clear?Background knowledge missing?

  • STEP 2 Use intervention to test the hypothesis

    It usually takes more than one tryKeep the focus on the behaviorKeep your goal realistic

  • The Bored/Disinterested Learner:You are in the middle of facilitating a small group discussion when one student takes out her cell phone to send a text message. Later on, she appears to be staring out the window.

    What the student is doing that works against their learningEducational intervention strategy

  • STEP 3 If intervention is not working,modify the hypothesis

    Seek help from other colleagues

  • Take Home Points:Reluctance is in the eye of the beholder

    The same systematic approach and the same skills that work with challenging experiments, work with challenging (reluctant) learners

  • Examples of reluctant learnersDisinterested/BoredThe Shy LearnerThe Know It All The Minimizer The Lazy Learner Passive-AggressiveThe Head Bobber

    **Why is it that the reluctant learner elicits such a strong reaction from us? Investment in what we are doing, a strong sense of the right thing to do for the patient, a strong sense that what we are trying to teach matters, is important to patient care, etc

    *Example of boring attending rounds as a student or resident*Remain neutral and objective, and TAKE A FULL HISTORY

    Ask the audience: What are the components of this learning process / who are the players in this learning process?**Knowledge- Does the learner not understand the clinical relevance of what you are trying to teach?Does the learner need some background information, before able to grasp a new teaching point. For example, if they dont know that DTs carries a significant mortality rate, they may not be very excited about learning how to prevent it.

    Diagnosis: Problem with attitude: Professional and Personal Psychiatric issues, substance use Cognitive problems Confidence Motivation *Therapeutic trials:It usually takes more than one tryBe consistent and be fairKeep the focus on the behavior, not the individualDistinguish isolated episodes from patterns Keep notes

    Robert Kegan and Lisa L. Lahey. Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization. Boston, MA. Harvard Business Press. 2009.