Perspective: Deconstructing Integration A Framework for the Rational Application of Integration as a Guiding Curricular Strategy


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Abstract

In response to historical criticism, evolving accreditation standards, and recent reports on curricula, medical educators and medical schools have been eagerly pursuing integration as a goal of curricular reform. The general education literature broadly considers integration to be the deliberate unification of separate areas of knowledge, and it provides support for the concept that integration better meets the needs of adult learners in professional education. The use of integration as a curricular goal is not without its critics, however, nor is it free of difficulties in implementation. In this perspective, the authors propose that most of these difficulties arise from a failure to recognize that integration is a strategy for curricular development rather than a goal in itself, and they argue that adopting a systematic approach to integration offers many potential benefits. They articulate the conceptual and practical issues that they believe are critical to consider in order to achieve successful curricular integration, and they suggest that integration should be approached as a subset of broader curriculum development decisions. They propose a three-level framework for applying integration as a guiding curricular strategy, in which decisions about integration must follow curricular decisions made at the program level, the course level, and then the individual session level.

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