Medical EducationOriginal Article

Learning With Reflection: Practices in an Osteopathic Surgery Clinical Clerkship Through an Online Module

Kadriye O. Lewis, EdD; Susan Farber, EdD; Haiqin Chen, PhD; and Don N. Peska, DO, MEd
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: July 21, 2015

Published: November 1, 2015

J Osteopath Med; 115(11): 678-685

Context: The value of reflective practices has gained momentum in osteopathic medical education. However, the use of reflective pedagogies has not been explored in the larger context of medical course delivery and design, to the authors’ knowledge.

Objectives: To determine the types of reflection demonstrated by osteopathic medical students on an online discussion board and to explore differences in discussion engagement caused by the use of a reflective learning self-assessment tool.

Methods: Using a mixed-method approach, reflection processes in an osteopathic surgery clinical clerkship online module were investigated in third-year osteopathic medical students. Discussion board messages were captured and coded. Both manual coding techniques and automated interrogation using NVivo9 (a computer program) for qualitative data were applied. Correlations of scores across 4 case-based discussion tasks and scores for self-reflection were computed as quantitative data.

Results: Twenty-eight students were included. Four main types of reflection (ie, content, contextual, dialogic, and personal) along with corresponding differentiated subthemes for each type of case-based discussion board group message were identified. Group collaboration revealed insights about the reflection process itself and also about the evidence of collective efforts, group engagements, and intragroup support among students. Student preparation revealed that students’ metacognition was triggered when they judged their own contributions to group work. Challenges in completing readings and meeting deadlines were related to the students’ long work hours.

Conclusions: Reflective practices are essential to the practice of osteopathic medicine and medical education. Curricula can promote the development of reflective skills by integrating these deliberate practices in educational activities.

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