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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 307

The “SMART” rationale for an integrated curriculum

Department of Physiology, Government Medical College, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication14-Nov-2018

Correspondence Address:
Swapnil Paralikar
Department of Physiology, Government Medical College, Bhavnagar, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cjhr.cjhr_69_18

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How to cite this article:
Paralikar S. The “SMART” rationale for an integrated curriculum. CHRISMED J Health Res 2018;5:307

How to cite this URL:
Paralikar S. The “SMART” rationale for an integrated curriculum. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Nov 28];5:307. Available from: https://www.cjhr.org/text.asp?2018/5/4/307/245449


Integrated learning is an effective and well-established strategy, also advocated by the Medical Council of India.[1] Integration is defined as follows: “The organization of teaching matter to interrelate or unify subjects frequently taught in separate academic courses or departments.”[2]

Following are the “SMART” rationale for an integrated curriculum [Figure 1]:
Figure 1: The SMART rationale

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  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

  2. 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.[3] 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

  3. A-“Active” learning

    • Now, there is enough evidence that active learning works.[4] Active learning is based on the theory of “constructivism”, which is enshrined in educational psychology.[1] Active learning has also been proposed by the pioneering medical educationist, Ronald Harden in his “Feedback, Active Learning, Individualized Learning, Relevant” principles.[5] An integrated curriculum, by encouraging educational strategies which promote active learning, helps medical students learn better

  4. R-Relevant

    • 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.[3] Thus, learning of basic sciences will be better

  5. T-Time management

    • 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.

  References Top

Available from: http://www.oldmciindia.org/books/announcementMCI_booklet.pdf. [Last accessed on 2017 Nov 06].  Back to cited text no. 1
Brauer DG, Ferguson KJ. The integrated curriculum in medical education: AMEE guide no. 96. Med Teach 2015;37:312-22.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kaufman D. Applying educational theory into practice. In: Cantillon P, Hutchinson L, Wood D, editors. ABC of Teaching and Learning in Medicine. 1st ed. London: BMJ Publishing Group; 2003. p. 46-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Michael J. Where's the evidence that active learning works? Adv Physiol Educ 2006;30:159-67.  Back to cited text no. 4
Harden RM, Laidlaw JM. Understanding basic educational principles. In: Essential Skills for a Medical Teacher. 1st ed. Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier; 2013.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1]

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