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Building a Curriculum Inventory: Instructional Methods, Assessment Methods, and Resources

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Alignment among learning objective, instructional method, assessment method, and resource

Once you have your list of events and unscheduled content from Chapter 7: Documenting Time, and have collected and written event-level learning objectives for each in Chapter 8: Event Learning Objectives, it is time to assign instructional methods, assessment methods, and resources as applicable to each event.

The learning objective language, especially the verb choice, will drive the selection of instructional and assessment methods, which in turn will drive the choice of resources.

For example, if your event-level learning objective begins with the verb “discuss,” your teaching and assessment approach will likely need to include some opportunity for communication, whether through verbal discussion or writing. If your event-level learning objective begins with the verb “demonstrate,” your teaching and assessment approach will likely need to include some opportunity for performance. The learning objective, instructional method, and assessment method should work in harmony together. Once you have identified the instructional and assessment approaches you would like, you can select which resources you will need to support these methods.

To learn more from examples of how your learning objective verb choice can direct a choice of teaching approach, please see the library in our virtual Curriculum Community.

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Task #1

Review how the language of a learning objective, especially the verb choice, directs the selection of instructional and assessment methods, and in turn, resources.

Standardized vocabulary

A list of all possible choices for instructional methods, assessment methods, and resources is available in the standardized vocabulary document on the Resources to Establish Your CI webpage. This common set of instructional methods, assessment methods, and resource types enables aggregate curricular reporting; thus, use of this document is required to upload your CI data to the AAMC.

Access the CI Standardized Vocabulary for Instructional Methods, Assessment Methods, and Resources

There are some instructional and assessment methods that more directly fit together.

For example, the instructional method IM012: Laboratory is a natural fit with the assessment method AM019: Exam-Institutionally Developed, Laboratory, Practical, although this is not the only assessment method that you could pair with a laboratory teaching experience. If you did choose IM012: Laboratory for your instructional method, and AM019: Exam-Institutionally Developed, Laboratory, Practical for your assessment method, perhaps the resource to choose to support these would be RE004: Cadaver.

Within the standardized vocabulary document, each term (e.g., concept mapping) comes with an ID code (e.g., IM004) which must be used along with the term you choose in your CI submission. Each term also comes with a definition, references, synonyms, and clarification of related terms that are not included in the definition. Your CI submission can include only the terms found within this document, regarding instructional methods, assessment methods, and resources, for a successful data upload.

Task #2

Review the standardized vocabulary list for instructional methods, assessment methods, and resources.

Technical rules

Here are some highlights about what is allowable with instructional and assessment methods, and resources from a technical perspective. Please note that how these technical rules are implemented may vary per technical platform.

  • You can have more than one instructional method, and even more than one of the same instructional method, per event.
  • If more than one instructional method is assigned to an event, one must be marked as primary. How you choose the primary instructional method will impact your school-specific reports such as the Verification Report, so it will be helpful to view a sample on the Resources to Use Your CI Effectively webpage.
  • You can have more than one assessment method, and even more than one of the same assessment method, per event.
  • Each assessment method must be tagged as either formative or summative.
  • You can document both instructional and assessment methods within a single event, or document instructional and assessment methods separately. How you document your assessments will impact your school-specific reports such as the Verification Report, so it will be helpful to view a sample on the Resources to Use Your CI Effectively webpage.
  • You can have more than one resource, and even more than one of the same resource, per event.

The detailed rules about how you can tag the instructional methods, assessment methods, and resources are available in the CI technical specifications and the AAMC CI Business Rules on the Resources for Developers webpage. There are also questions related to instructional methods, assessment methods, and resources in the CI Frequently Asked Questions.

From a curriculum design perspective, recent trends in medical education have included the increasing integration of curriculum topics (e.g., clinical and basic science content), and the use of active learning approaches. As these trends continue, you may find that multiple instructional approaches occur within a single event.

Task #3

Review the technical requirements around use of instructional and assessment methods, and resources, and review the sample Verification and Accreditation Support Reports to see where this data will populate in your school reports.

School-specific guidelines

It will be helpful to establish your school’s guidelines in assigning instructional and assessment methods, and resources so that tagging across courses can be consistent. This will be especially important if there are multiple faculty and staff providing these tags.

For example, perhaps in your curriculum you have a series of 2-hour events across several courses which use a team-based learning (TBL) model (IM026). However, the content of the TBL focuses on patient cases. Does this qualify also as case-based instruction/learning (CBL, IM001), such that all of these 2-hour events should be tagged with both IM026 and IM001? Perhaps so, but it will be important to have a centralized process to make these kinds of decisions and communicate them to your faculty and staff so that tagging practices are consistent. This may include professional development for your faculty and staff.

Your technical platform may allow you to allot the amount of time spent per instructional method – this is not required in your CI submission, but it may be useful for internal curriculum management purposes.

Another example where your school-specific guidelines and approach to documentation will be important relates to instruction and assessment which for any given student occur on different days. This relates back to our consideration of “unscheduled events”. With licensing exams, for example, each student ideally takes the exam once, such that the typical/hypothetical student represented in your CI should have exam licensing exam (perhaps AM006: Exam – Licensure, Clinical Performance, or AM007: Exam – Licensure, Written/Computer-based) listed once in your CI. However, in reality each student takes the licensing exam on a different day. How will you represent this event and assessment method in your CI – the first day the licensing exam is offered? The last day students can take the licensing exam? Establishing your school’s approach to documenting these assessments will help ensure consistency across your curriculum.

Task #4

Determine your school-specific guidelines to assigning instructional methods and/or assessment methods, and resources to each event, and tag each event in your CI accordingly.

Chapter 9 key questions

  1. Do we have our list of events and unscheduled content, with learning objectives, from our work during Chapter 8: Event Learning Objectives? Have we reviewed the CI Standardized Vocabulary for Instructional Methods, Assessment Methods, and Resources on the Resources to Establish Your CI webpage?
  2. What instructional and assessment method(s) will best align with the learning objectives for each event?
  3. What resources are needed per event to support our instructional and assessment methods?
  4. What are our school-specific guidelines for dealing with cases where multiple methods may apply (e.g., TBL and CBL), or students may experience a given event and method (e.g., licensing exam) on different days?
  5. Have we followed all the technical rules on the Resources for Developers webpage (e.g., choosing one instructional method as primary per event, tagging each assessment method as formative or summative, etc.)?
  6. What resources or professional development will we provide to our faculty and staff to ensure consistent assignment of instructional and assessment methods, and resources, across content?
  7. How will we ensure the accuracy of our instructional and assessment methods, and resources from year to year? (Be sure this element of your CI was included in your maintenance plans from Chapter 6.)

Additional resources

Log in to the Curriculum Community for additional resources, peer-to-peer conversations, and get your questions answered.

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Access past chapters of the Building a Curriculum Inventory Guidebook

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