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Multiplying Adult Learning: A Consideration of Two Important Models

Greenberg, Larrie MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000491
Letters to the Editor
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Senior consultant for medical education and clinical professor of pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC; Lgreenbe@gwu.edu.

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To the Editor:

In the March issue, Wiseman et al1 describe an interesting approach to teaching and learning rooted in establishing a safe learning climate. Kaufman2 also emphasized the concept of safe learning among other adult learning principles as the underlying foundation to establishing an effective teaching and learning environment. Wiseman et al propose a new model of clinical leadership focusing on “Multiplier” physician teachers, who “amplify intelligence, produce better outcomes, and grow talent”1 on the health care team. Although this model is addressed to leaders in medical education, it really applies to all faculty who assume teaching responsibilities. As I reflected on this model, I immediately thought about adult learning and how known principles of adult learning interact with the concept of Multipliers.

Adult learning principles that complement Wiseman and colleagues’ model include the following:

  • Considering everyone on the team to be a learner, some more senior than others,
  • Reducing hierarchy by giving everyone permission to contribute to learning, from students up to faculty,
  • Cultivating joint understanding of and responsibility for the entrustable professional activities in the context of the rotation,
  • Knowing learners’ first names,
  • Using “I” statements to affirm that the teacher has been in the learner’s shoes at some point and understands his or her difficulty, and
  • Informing the learner about likely kinds of patient problems he or she will encounter.

The importance of combining the Multiplier and adult learning models is that both address ways to enhance the teacher–learner relationship, activate learners, and diminish the hierarchy between faculty and learners that exists in our academic health centers. Whatever methods help us transform the traditional teacher-centered model to a learner-centered approach will enhance the breadth and depth of learning.3

Disclosures: None reported.

Larrie Greenberg, MD

Senior consultant for medical education and clinical professor of pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC; Lgreenbe@gwu.edu.

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References

1. Wiseman L, Bradwejn J, Westbroek EM. A new leadership curriculum: The multiplication of intelligence. Acad Med. 2014;89:376–379
2. Kaufman DM. Applying educational theory in practice. BMJ. 2003;326:213–216
3. Bloom BS. Thought processes in lectures and discussion. J Gen Educ. 1953;7:160–167
© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges