Design: Modified Learning Plan

You may want to design a modified learning pan for use outside of a remedial context. Alternatively, if you are embarking on a remediation, you will need to design both the Remediation and the Modified Learning Plan that will support it. 

It is inherent to Medical Education and adult learning in general that different learners benefit from different learning opportunities.  This concept is recognized in the design of most programs, and learners are typically afforded different opportunities which they may access to enhance their learning.  During the course of routine training, residents themselves, preceptors or academic advisors will help the resident to identify particular areas of need and suggest resources that might help.  The majority of residents do not need more than this level of flexibility in their training.  However, from time to time it becomes apparent that there is a deficiency that needs more specific attention.  In such cases, it is useful to institute a formal Modified Learning Plan (MLP). 

A MLP is simply a specific plan, or set of educational interventions, which is explicitly discussed with a resident, has specific content, and can be demonstrated to have been undertaken.  More formal interventions, such as remediations, always include a MLP, but an MLP does not itself imply or require formal remediation.  In fact, the ideal use of a MLP would be to help a resident to avoid remediation by identifying and correcting problems at an even earlier stage.  For example, if it were to become apparent early in a rotation or phase of training that a resident was on a worrisome trajectory, a formal MLP might be instituted at that point, with a goal of regaining the trajectory and successfully completing on time.  The primary goal of a formal MLP in this circumstance is to intensify the focus on the issue by both the trainee and their preceptors, thereby increasing the likelihood of success.  It also provides a clear description of what has been tried and how it was implemented that can help greatly in guiding further interventions down the road. 

Designing an effective MLP starts with a clear diagnosis of the gaps being addressed.  There are many different resources that might be brought to bear, ranging widely in the relative degree of investment by the program and the trainee.  Specific content suggestions for designing a MLP are provided in the following CanMEDs sections. Which resources are most appropriate for a given situation will depend on the nature and severity of the gap being addressed, the learning style of the learner, and resource constraints of the program.  As a general rule, MLPs for non-remedial use are typically fairly flexible and learner-driven, and less likely to include resources that put a specific onus on the program, such as one-on-one teaching sessions or simulation.  As stakes mount, there is a trend toward more structure, a greater likelihood of active instruction methods, and often some specific assessment of achievement.