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Using Small Case-Based Learning Groups as a Setting for Teaching Medical Students How to Provide and Receive Peer Feedback


As future physicians, nearly all medical students will be required to provide face-to-face feedback. Moreover, receiving high-quality feedback from multiple perspectives is particularly valuable during the pre-clerkship training period. To address these needs, we developed a straightforward, easy-to-implement exercise that affords students the opportunity to practice giving and receiving feedback with peers. We describe how this exercise has been tailored to fit within the case-based learning small groups of our first-year curriculum and how to enhance the activity by weaving the basic principles of quality feedback into preparation sessions. This exercise has been valued greatly by students.

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1. Study data were collected and managed using REDCap electronic data capture tools hosted at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.1 REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, web-based application designed to support data capture for research studies, providing (1) an intuitive interface for validated data entry; (2) audit trails for tracking data manipulation and export procedures; (3) automated export procedures for seamless data downloads to common statistical packages; and (4) procedures for importing data from external sources.

1Paul A. Harris, Robert Taylor, Robert Thielke, Jonathon Payne, Nathaniel Gonzalez, Jose G. Conde, Research electronic data capture (REDCap)—a metadata-driven methodology and workflow process for providing translational research informatics support, J Biomed Inform. 2009 Apr;42(2):377–81.

2. We would like to thank other CBL facilitators at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine for their feedback and encouragement during the development of this process. In particular, we would like to thank Dr. Tyler Reimschisel for his helpful suggestions and support.

3. The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support received through the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology (RHC), the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, funded by National Institutes of Health the P30 CA68485 (RHC), National Institutes of Health grant award R01 GM33944 (NO) and US Veterans Administration Merit Review award I01 Bx002198 (NO).

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Correspondence to Robert H. Carnahan.

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Bird, E.C., Osheroff, N., Pettepher, C.C. et al. Using Small Case-Based Learning Groups as a Setting for Teaching Medical Students How to Provide and Receive Peer Feedback. Med.Sci.Educ. 27, 759–765 (2017).

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  • Feedback
  • Case-based learning
  • Pre-clerkship
  • Peer feedback