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Feedback for Learners in Medical Education: What Is Known? A Scoping Review

Bing-You, Robert MD, MEd, MBA; Hayes, Victoria MD; Varaklis, Kalli MD, MSEd; Trowbridge, Robert MD; Kemp, Heather MLIS; McKelvy, Dina MA, MLS

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001578
Reviews

Purpose To conduct a scoping review of the literature on feedback for learners in medical education.

Method In 2015–2016, the authors searched the Ovid MEDLINE, ERIC, CINAHL, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global, Web of Science, and Scopus databases and seven medical education journals (via OvidSP) for articles published January 1980–December 2015. Two reviewers screened articles for eligibility with inclusion criteria. All authors extracted key data and analyzed data descriptively.

Results The authors included 650 articles in the review. More than half (n = 341) were published during 2010–2015. Many centered on medical students (n = 274) or residents (n = 192); some included learners from other disciplines (n = 57). Most (n = 633) described methods used for giving feedback; some (n = 95) described opinions and recommendations regarding feedback. Few studies assessed approaches to feedback with randomized, educational trials (n = 49) or described changes in learner behavior after feedback (n = 49). Even fewer assessed the impact of feedback on patient outcomes (n = 28).

Conclusions Feedback is considered an important means of improving learner performance, as evidenced by the number of articles outlining recommendations for feedback approaches. The literature on feedback for learners in medical education is broad, fairly recent, and generally describes new or altered curricular approaches that involve feedback for learners. High-quality, evidence-based recommendations for feedback are lacking. In addition to highlighting calls to reassess the concepts and complex nature of feedback interactions, the authors identify several areas that require further investigation.

R. Bing-You is professor, Tufts University School of Medicine, and vice president for medical education, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine.

V. Hayes is clinical assistant professor, Tufts University School of Medicine, and faculty member, Department of Family Medicine, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine.

K. Varaklis is clinical associate professor, Tufts University School of Medicine, and residency program director in obstetrics and gynecology, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine.

R. Trowbridge is associate professor, Tufts University School of Medicine, and director of undergraduate medical education, Department of Medicine, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine.

H. Kemp is medical librarian, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine.

D. McKelvy is manager of library and knowledge services, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine.

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at http://links.lww.com/ACADMED/A426.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.

Correspondence should be addressed to Robert Bing-You, Maine Medical Center, 22 Bramhall St., Portland, ME 04102; telephone: (207) 662-7060; e-mail: bingyb@mmc.org.

© 2017 by the Association of American Medical Colleges