The Analysis of Teaching of Medical Schools (AToMS) survey: an analysis of 47,258 timetabled teaching events in 25 UK medical schools relating to timing, duration, teaching formats, teaching content, and problem-based learning

Oliver Patrick Devine, Andrew Christopher Harborne, Hugo Layard Horsfall, Tobin Joseph, Tess Marshall-Andon, Ryan Samuels, Joshua William Kearsley, Nadine Abbas, Hassan Baig, Joseph Beecham, Natasha Benons, Charlie Caird, Ryan Clark, Thomas Cope, James Coultas, Luke Debenham, Sarah Douglas, Jack Eldridge, Thomas Hughes-Gooding, Agnieszka JakubowskaOliver Jones, Eve Lancaster, Calum MacMillan, Ross McAllister, Wassim Merzougui, Ben Phillips, Simon Phillips, Omar Risk, Adam Sage, Aisha Sooltangos, Robert Spencer, Roxanne Tajbakhsh, Oluseyi Adesalu, Ivan Aganin, Ammar Ahmed, Katherine Aiken, Alimatu-Sadia Akeredolu, Ibrahim Alam, Aamna Ali, Richard Anderson, Jia Jun Ang, Fady Sameh Anis, Sonam Aojula, Catherine Arthur, Alena Ashby, Ahmed Ashraf, Emma Aspinall, Mark Awad, Abdul-Muiz Azri Yahaya, Shreya Badhrinarayanan, Soham Bandyopadhyay, Sam Barnes, Daisy Bassey-Duke, Charlotte Boreham, Rebecca Braine, Joseph Brandreth, Zoe Carrington, Zoe Cashin, Shaunak Chatterjee, Mehar Chawla, Chung Shen Chean, Chris Clements, Richard Clough, Jessica Coulthurst, Liam Curry, Vinnie Christine Daniels, Simon Davies, Rebecca Davis, Hanelie De Waal, Nasreen Desai, Hannah Douglas, James Druce, Lady-Namera Ejamike, Meron Esere, Alex Eyre, Ibrahim Talal Fazmin, Sophia Fitzgerald-Smith, Verity Ford, Sarah Freeston, Katherine Garnett, Whitney General, Helen Gilbert, Zein Gowie, Ciaran Grafton-Clarke, Keshni Gudka, Leher Gumber, Rishi Gupta, Chris Harlow, Amy Harrington, Adele Heaney, Wing Hang Serene Ho, Lucy Holloway, Christina Hood, Eleanor Houghton, Saba Houshangi, Emma Howard, Benjamin Human, Harriet Hunter, Ifrah Hussain, Sami Hussain, Richard Thomas Jackson-Taylor, Bronwen Jacob-Ramsdale, Ryan Janjuha, Saleh Jawad, Muzzamil Jelani, David Johnston, Mike Jones, Sadhana Kalidindi, Savraj Kalsi, Asanish Kalyanasundaram, Anna Kane, Sahaj Kaur, Othman Khaled Al-Othman, Qaisar Khan, Sajan Khullar, Priscilla Kirkland, Hannah Lawrence-Smith, Charlotte Leeson, Julius Elisabeth Richard Lenaerts, Kerry Long, Simon Lubbock, Jamie Mac Donald Burrell, Rachel Maguire, Praveen Mahendran, Saad Majeed, Prabhjot Singh Malhotra, Vinay Mandagere, Angelos Mantelakis, Sophie McGovern, Anjola Mosuro, Adam Moxley, Sophie Mustoe, Sam Myers, Kiran Nadeem, Reza Nasseri, Tom Newman, Richard Nzewi, Rosalie Ogborne, Joyce Omatseye, Sophie Paddock, James Parkin, Mohit Patel, Sohini Pawar, Stuart Pearce, Samuel Penrice, Julian Purdy, Raisa Ramjan, Ratan Randhawa, Usman Rasul, Elliot Raymond-Taggert, Rebecca Razey, Carmel Razzaghi, Eimear Reel, Elliot John Revell, Joanna Rigbye, Oloruntobi Rotimi, Abdelrahman Said, Emma Sanders, Pranoy Sangal, Nora Sangvik Grandal, Aadam Shah, Rahul Atul Shah, Oliver Shotton, Daniel Sims, Katie Smart, Martha Amy Smith, Nick Smith, Aninditya Salma Sopian, Matthew South, Jessica Speller, Tom J. Syer, Ngan Hong Ta, Daniel Tadross, Benjamin Thompson, Jess Trevett, Matthew Tyler, Roshan Ullah, Mrudula Utukuri, Shree Vadera, Harriet van den Tooren, Sara Venturini, Aradhya Vijayakumar, Melanie Vine, Zoe Wellbelove, Liora Wittner, Geoffrey Hong Kiat Yong, Farris Ziyada, I. C. McManus

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Abstract

Background

What subjects UK medical schools teach, what ways they teach subjects, and how much they teach those subjects is unclear. Whether teaching differences matter is a separate, important question. This study provides a detailed picture of timetabled undergraduate teaching activity at 25 UK medical schools, particularly in relation to problem-based learning (PBL).
Method

The Analysis of Teaching of Medical Schools (AToMS) survey used detailed timetables provided by 25 schools with standard 5-year courses. Timetabled teaching events were coded in terms of course year, duration, teaching format, and teaching content. Ten schools used PBL. Teaching times from timetables were validated against two other studies that had assessed GP teaching and lecture, seminar, and tutorial times.
Results

A total of 47,258 timetabled teaching events in the academic year 2014/2015 were analysed, including SSCs (student-selected components) and elective studies. A typical UK medical student receives 3960 timetabled hours of teaching during their 5-year course. There was a clear difference between the initial 2 years which mostly contained basic medical science content and the later 3 years which mostly consisted of clinical teaching, although some clinical teaching occurs in the first 2 years. Medical schools differed in duration, format, and content of teaching. Two main factors underlay most of the variation between schools, Traditional vs PBL teaching and Structured vs Unstructured teaching. A curriculum map comparing medical schools was constructed using those factors. PBL schools differed on a number of measures, having more PBL teaching time, fewer lectures, more GP teaching, less surgery, less formal teaching of basic science, and more sessions with unspecified content.
Discussion

UK medical schools differ in both format and content of teaching. PBL and non-PBL schools clearly differ, albeit with substantial variation within groups, and overlap in the middle. The important question of whether differences in teaching matter in terms of outcomes is analysed in a companion study (MedDifs) which examines how teaching differences relate to university infrastructure, entry requirements, student perceptions, and outcomes in Foundation Programme and postgraduate training.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126
JournalBMC Medicine
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2020

Keywords

  • Clinical teaching
  • Lectures
  • Medical school differences
  • Problem-based learning
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Teaching styles
  • Timetables
  • Tutorials

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