In formulating a management plan, including a learning plan, it is important to consider conflicts that may occur between educator and learner expectations. Generally, the learning methods preferred by IMGs are:
- procedural teaching
- case-based discussion
- exam-oriented teaching
- interactive lectures/tutorials
- Applied Knowledge Test/Key Feature Problem (AKT/KFP) quiz sessions.
The methods of learning least preferred by IMGs are:
- reflective writing
- small group learning (webinar format)
- critical analysis
- random case analysis/discussion
- direct observation and videorecording of consultations.
IMGs may feel threatened by direct observation, videorecording of consultations and role-play. Rather than seeing these as learning opportunities, they may perceive them as tests of their capability that may result in them being unable to practise or, possibly, being reported to AHPRA.
In regard to learning, educators place emphasis on:
- depth of learning and understanding
- learning that lasts (that is retained and built on)
- lifelong learning (CPD).
Educators also have expectations that the learner be motivated to learn and put what is learnt into practice.
Learners, however, may appear to be more concerned with:
- surface learning
- wanting to pass exams
- learning to the test.
On face value, therefore, there is a mismatch between what the educator believes is good for the learner and what the learner wants. It is important not to lose sight of the ‘greater picture’, which is to develop clinical skills and become a competent GP with the capability to practise safely and independently anywhere in Australia (which is the assessment standard for the FRACGP exam). Study that focuses purely on passing the exam is unlikely to bring the desired results.
In all instances, the following factors are key for habits to change and improvement to occur:
- attitude (willingness to change)
- motivation (desire to change)
- discipline and determination
- a well-considered study plan.