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Meeting Information


November 6, 2009


8 PST/11 EST/16 GMT/17 CET

Please note: the conferencing service will ask you to enter the pound sign. Press # for pound.

Attending: Kim Hoffman, Chair; Valerie Smothers, Staff; Bob Galbraith, Simon Grant, Linda Lewin, Amber Montañano, John Norcini, Morgan Passiment, Kevin Souza.

Agenda Items

1 Review minutes of last meeting

The minutes were approved.

2 Discuss European transition to residency/graduate education 

Kim commented that she was looking to explore recent decisions through the lens of colleagues outside of the United States. She asked Simon and John if they wanted to add anything.

John and Simon agreed that the use cases were fine. John commented that from the perspective of international students coming to the US, administrative intervention would be more useful to them. Kim commented that we are framing work around collecting data not routinely collected. She asked if there are ways to collect informal learning in the ECFMG community.

John commented that there is huge variability among medical schools internationally. Some countries are less economically endowed, making it difficult to find out what is in the curriculum. They've thought of collecting curricular information. Informal learning makes sense for the US, but for other parts of the world, curricular information will be more challenging.

Kim asked if it would give advantage to those international applicants to US residencies. John replied that the first question would be can you adequately describe the curriculum. Learners would like to distinguish themselves with informal learning, but licensing bodies need to know that their curriculum is of adequate quality. Representing what learners have done formally would be more useful.

Kim agreed that both pieces were important but added that the initial focus is to collect information not currently collected in any routine way.

3 Review sample specification excerpt

Kim asked Valerie to review the specification excerpt and describe what the document does, what the working group's role is, and how the use cases relate.

Valerie began by describing how the use cases relate to the specification. The use cases describe the problem that the working group is trying to solve and how they envision the solution working. The use cases provide the context for the data specification. By describing the common problem and the solution envisioned, it's impossible to identify which data elements are necessary to meet the goals of the solution.

The specification document identifies which pieces of data will be necessary for the data exchange and what those pieces of data look like. The document provided is an illustrative example of one part of the specification. It is possible that the group will decide to go with a different technical architecture, potentially leveraging LEAP 2A. The current excerpt does not take that into account but instead focuses on the types of questions the working group would need to answer. Illustrative questions are embedded in comments throughout the excerpt. Types of questions include:

  • Do we have the right data categories/data elements?
  • Which data fields should be optional and which should be required?
  • If the group decides to restrict values for a particular data field (for informal learning, for example), what values should be allowed?

John asked how the current architecture relates to the needs he addressed. Kim commented that work on informal learning experiences could certainly inform work on more formal courses. Bob asked if we were planning to include a category for formal learning activities. Kim replied that in the last meeting we decided to focus on four categories: formal extracurricular activities, informal extracurricular activities, academic difficulties, and gaps in study. We will focus on those first. Then we can quickly advance to formal curriculum mapping.

Simon commented that the specification document is a good medium for focusing on some of the issues that need to be tackled. He added that we may be able to use the same structure for formal and informal learning activities. The way in which they are categories is different, however. Once the information model is decided, the group may want to look at other ways of representing that information model. He added that this will not interest the entire group but that it would be good to locate those who are interested to work on the data architecture.

Kim commented that work going forward will likely be done in a series of small groups. We will be querying the group as to which of the small groups each person would like to contribute to. This will make calls more action oriented.

Kevin asked if there had been a discussion regarding the definition of an object and linking to a piece of evidence. What if the student had produced patient brochure that was not published on the website. Could the informal learning activity include the PDF is an object?

Kim replied that the group is certainly expressed a desire for that. She asked Valerie to explain how that might occur.

Valerie commented that one could use Web services to embed the object with the rest of the educational trajectory data. Simon added that you could use a zip archive as well. Others use IMS content packaging, although it's not necessary. Atom has the ability to allow attachments. If data is not certified or if the institution is not reliable, it may be beneficial to have supporting evidence.

Kevin added that it would be ideal to allow for textual reflection to accompany the linker PDF document. Evidence of the meaningless without the reflection to put it in context. He added that a competency domain tag would also be useful. Simon agreed.

Kim commented that the group can be most helpful in clarifying the questions raised by Valerie in the document.

Linda commented that adding competency designations and links to other evidence sounds fabulous. She asked what we need to do up front to make progress. Valerie replied that we need to agree on the main categories of data within the educational trajectory.

Bob commented that from the pragmatic point of view, including formal learning data could be an important piece of the specification. We will need for bigger things down the road. He added that he is not sure if it is part of the same specification, but he would hate to lose sight of the formal curriculum.

Linda commented that the group is trying to collect stated that others don't have. She expressed concern that working on formal curriculum would take us further afield.

Kim commented that within US medical schools the discussion about formal curriculum gets into detailed activities. John may need larger buckets of information: yes they've had similar experience in patient care, for example. John agreed, reminded the group that 25% of trainees in US residencies are international medical graduates, many with clerkship experience in the United States.

Bob commented that there will be skepticism of any new specification dealing with something as vague as extracurricular learning activities.

Simon suggested representing formal and informal learning activities under one umbrella.

Morgan commented that the really relevant work is in formal, but that we could also develop a framework for formal learning activities. Valerie commented that there specifications for transcripts that we could and clued if appropriate.

Kim commented that informal learning presents a unique and important opportunity. She concluded that we would proceed with multiple small groups and report back. She would like to hear Bob's comments before making a final decision. The question is how much time do we haven't had we best allocate that time. We'll invite Bob to finish the comments that he was making when the fire alarm went off.

4 Open discussion


Action Items

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