|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2018 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 307
The “SMART” rationale for an integrated curriculum
Department of Physiology, Government Medical College, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India
|Date of Web Publication||14-Nov-2018|
Department of Physiology, Government Medical College, Bhavnagar, Gujarat
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Paralikar S. The “SMART” rationale for an integrated curriculum. CHRISMED J Health Res 2018;5:307
Integrated learning is an effective and well-established strategy, also advocated by the Medical Council of India. Integration is defined as follows: “The organization of teaching matter to interrelate or unify subjects frequently taught in separate academic courses or departments.”
Following are the “SMART” rationale for an integrated curriculum [Figure 1]:
- S-Ensuring synchrony across the curriculum
- A doctor needs to seamlessly integrate the basic sciences knowledge into the treatment and care of patients. It is necessary to have synchrony among the different disciplines
M-Making learning “meaningful” and “motivating” medical students
- According to the principles of adult learning, adults not only need to know why they need to learn a particular topic, but they also learn better, if they have to apply the knowledge immediately. An integrated curriculum (either “vertical” or “spiral”) caters to this objective, ensuring that learning is “meaningful” for a medical student. Early clinical exposure in the preclinical years fosters a sense of being “doctors” in novice medical students, which then “motivates” them to study
- Now, there is enough evidence that active learning works. Active learning is based on the theory of “constructivism”, which is enshrined in educational psychology. Active learning has also been proposed by the pioneering medical educationist, Ronald Harden in his “Feedback, Active Learning, Individualized Learning, Relevant” principles. An integrated curriculum, by encouraging educational strategies which promote active learning, helps medical students learn better
- It is necessary to take the teaching of basic sciences from “bench to bedside”. This will make learning fun and interesting. Telling adults beforehand about when they are most likely to apply a topic, helps them learn it better. Thus, learning of basic sciences will be better
- At times, there is overlapping between two departments. For example, many topics which are adequately covered in physiology are also taught in biochemistry. By avoiding overlapping and eliminating redundant parts of the curriculum, precious time can be saved which will help enable the curriculum to be more focused on health needs.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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