Teaching residents the knowledge, skills, and ethical values of orthopaedic surgery is critical to our profession. Currently, the standards for orthopaedic residency training are set by the Orthopaedic Residency Review Committee (RRC) of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. However, the means by which those standards are to be achieved is largely left up to individual residency programs. This article considers how we might improve the quality and effectiveness of orthopaedic education if we apply to residency programs the core principles of adult education. These core principles form the central theme of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Course for Orthopaedic Educators, the first course among all medical specialties to be devoted entirely to education and the longest-running continuing medical education course offered by the AAOS. This article reviews the critical elements involved in educating orthopaedic residents, applying the core educational principles established by the Course for Orthopaedic Educators. We suggest that if orthopaedic educators understand the educational process and the principles that underlie it, they will be able to improve the quality and effectiveness of residency education and thus ultimately improve the profession. This article presents eight core principles of adult education and outlines how they can be applied by orthopaedic educators—both by program planners and by physician-teachers.
The Eight Core Principles of Adult Education
Cognitive psychologists and educational scholars have generated a large body of peer-reviewed research on effective techniques of adult education1-3. This research established a set of core educational principles (Table I) that can be used by orthopaedic educators to improve resident learning. The eight core principles presented here are not the only ones that might be applied to medical education. However, they are featured in the AAOS Course for Orthopaedic Educators because they capture key themes in current research …
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