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Applying four-component instructional design to develop a case presentation curriculum


Medical students must gain proficiency with the complex skill of case presentations, yet current approaches to instruction are fragmented and often informal, resulting in suboptimal transfer of this skill into clinical practice. Whole task approaches to learning have been proposed to teach complex skill development. The authors describe a longitudinal case presentation curriculum developed using a whole task approach known as four-component instructional design (4-C/ID). 4‑C/ID is based on cognitive psychology theory, and carefully attends to titrating a learner's cognitive load, aiming to always keep students in their zone of proximal development. A multi-institutional group of medical educators convened to develop expert consensus regarding case presentation instruction using the 4‑C/ID model. A curriculum consisting of 1) learning tasks, 2) supportive information, 3) just-in-time information, and 4) part-task practice was developed. Domains were identified that make the task of delivering a case presentation complex. A simplifying conditions approach was applied to each domain to develop sequential task class descriptions. Examples of the four components are given to facilitate understanding of the 4‑C/ID model, making it more accessible to medical educators. Applying 4‑C/ID to curriculum development for the complex skill of case presentation delivery may optimize instruction. The provision of the complete curricular outline may facilitate transfer and implementation of this case presentation curriculum, as well as foster the application of 4‑C/ID to other complex skill development in medical education.

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