Hudder A, Tackett S, Moscatello K. First-Year Experience Implementing an Adaptive Learning Platform for First- and Second-Year Medical Students at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2019;119(1):51–58. doi: https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2019.008.
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The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) is a large, diverse medical school spread across 3 campuses, which makes it challenging to deliver comparable learning experiences to all students. Osmosis is a Web and mobile application that can integrate with a variety of existing curricula and, through its content creation and sharing features, can foster student cohesion in an online environment.
To analyze the first year of use for the Osmosis platform among LECOM students at each campus and to identify barriers to this use.
Medical education at LECOM is delivered across 3 campus locations using 3 main pathways: the lecture-discussion, problem-based learning, and directed-study pathways. Beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, all LECOM first-year medical students could use the Osmosis platform free of charge; second-year students were informed about the platform but were required to pay for a subscription. For all students, engagement metrics were tracked within the platform, and periodic student surveys and informal student feedback supplemented these metrics.
Of 1135 LECOM students, 567 (50%) signed up for an account, including 416 (73%) of 573 first-year and 151 (27%) of 562 second-year students. In aggregate, students created 17,901 items and answered 123,050 practice questions and flashcards. Student use of the platform varied considerably, with the highest use at the Erie campus, where the platform was championed by faculty, and among a portion of second-year students preparing for board examinations. Some students were “superusers”; 2 students completed more than 20,000 items, and 5 created more than 1000 items each. The greatest barriers to use of the platform were preferences for previous study methods and lack of time to learn new study habits.
Although the use of the platform across LECOM campuses was uneven, it was greatest when there was overt support by faculty and when students were already motivated to use the platform. The lessons learned during the first year of the program will be used to improve use of the platform. The authors offer their insights into this new technology.
a For both classes of students, including all campuses and pathways, the total numbers were as follows: 567 Osmosis users/1135 total students (50%); 123,050 total items answered (mean, 217.0); 17,901 total items created (mean, 31.6); and 65,772 total notes taken (mean, 116.0).
Abbreviations: DSP, directed-study pathway; LDP, lecture-discussion pathway; LECOM, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine; PBL, problem-based learning pathway.
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