Struggling Medical Learners: A Competency-Based Approach to Improving Performance

Heather Ridinger, Jamie Cvengros, James Gunn, Pedro Tanaka, Joseph Rencic, Ara Tekian, Yoon Soo Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Faculty must be trained to recognize, analyze, and provide feedback and resources to struggling medical learners. Training programs must be equipped to intervene when necessary with individualized remediation efforts to ensure learner success. Methods: This 90-minute interactive faculty development workshop provides a foundational competency-based framework for identifying and assisting the struggling medical learner. The workshop uses a mock academic promotions committee meeting addressing the case of a struggling undergraduate learner. The workshop was presented at two regional conferences, and participants completed an anonymous evaluation form containing 10 items on a 5-point Likert scale and two open-ended questions. Data were analyzed and a subgroup analysis performed using an independent t test and correlation. Qualitative data were read and coded for representative themes by two authors. Results: Fifty-five participants completed an evaluation form. The quality of the workshop was high (M = 4.5, SD = 0.6); participants agreed that the learning objectives were achieved and relevant to their educational needs (M = 4.4, SD = 0.7). A significant positive correlation existed between perceived quality and the interactive elements (.70, p < .05) as well as the intention to apply learning (.60, p < .05). Written comments revealed six themes: role-play, resources, interaction with colleagues, modeling, relevant content, and the process of learning. Discussion: The workshop's quality, relevance, and applicability were rated excellent among medical educators. Participants felt the interactive nature of the workshop was its most useful aspect, and a majority intended to apply the learning to their practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10739
Number of pages1
JournalMedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources
StatePublished - Aug 15 2018


  • Competency-Based Education
  • Competency-Based Medical Education
  • Remediation
  • Struggling Medical Learner

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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