The traditional approach to the surgical clerkship has limitations, including variability of clinical exposure. To optimize student education we developed and introduced the core learning objectives curriculum, which is designed to allow students freedom to direct their learning and focus on core concepts. We performed a prospective, randomized, controlled study to compare the efficacy of core learning objectives vs traditional curricula through objective and subjective measures.Materials and Methods
Medical students were randomly assigned to the core learning objectives or traditional curricula during the 2-week urology clerkship. Faculty was blinded to student assignment. Upon rotation completion all students were given a 20-question multiple choice examination covering basic urology concepts. In addition, students completed a questionnaire addressing subjective clerkship satisfaction, comprising 15 questions.Results
Between June 2005 and January 2007, 10 core learning objectives students and 10 traditional students completed the urology clerkship. The average ± SEM multiple choice examination score was 12.1 ± 0.87 and 9.8 ± 0.59 for students assigned to the core learning objectives and traditional curricula, respectively (p <0.05). Subjective scores were higher in the core learning objectives cohort, although this result did not attain statistical significance (124.9 ± 3.72 vs 114.3 ± 4.96, p = 0.1). Core learning objectives students reported higher satisfaction in all 15 assessed subjective end points.Conclusions
Our experience suggests that the core learning objectives model may be an effective educational tool to help students achieve a broad and directed exposure to the core urological concepts.