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How to Learn in Medical School

In this course, we begin by describing what learning is and how learning works (Module 1), and give background on how routine and adaptive expertise can be developed in health professions learners (Module 2).

In Module 3, we move on to six practical methods (testing effect, spaced repetition, interleaving, elaborative interrogation, concrete examples, and multimedia learning) that have been shown to enhance learning by decades of experimental evidence. We illustrate how these can be applied when preparing for high stakes examinations in Module 4.

In Module 5, we consider how, during the process of their own education, students can become teachers too. In Module 6, we conclude by giving practical advice for navigating medical school and applying to residency.

We include quizzes because testing and feedback improve learning, although these are only meant for your benefit. We also provide references and resources for further learning.

Throughout the course we ask that you share comments so that others in the course can learn from you. You are welcome to stop back any time to read what others have written and respond to comments on your posts.


Your Instructor


Sean Tackett, MD, MPH
Sean Tackett, MD, MPH

Sean is a General Internist at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and Research Director for Osmosis. His career aspiration is to contribute to improvements in the quality of health professions education internationally, and he’s hoping that this course will make a difference by helping you learn how to learn.

Sean currently teaches curriculum development to Johns Hopkins faculty, has authored online modules on curriculum development and learning theories for Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and has taught educational skills to faculty from China, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Syria, and Brazil. He also practices hospital medicine and teaches medical students and residents on the medical wards.

Traveling and eating are his favorite pastimes, especially when his wife and two boys can join, and when visits to family in Pittsburgh and Ahmedabad can be arranged.



Course Curriculum


  Pre-course Knowledge Check
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days after you enroll
  Module 4: Evidence-Based Preparation for High-Stakes Exams
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days after you enroll
  Final Assessment
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days after you enroll
  Feedback for the Course
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days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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