It is critical that all graduates from medical school master core concepts and skills to become compassionate, effective care providers. Since learners come to Vanderbilt with differing educational backgrounds and varied life experiences, it would be expected that each student will take a unique path to attain that common outcome. Additionally, it is a stated mission of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine to groom the future leaders of the healthcare system. Leadership takes many forms, so each student needs the opportunity to develop a unique skill set in addition to mastering the shared fundamentals. Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) allow us to ensure standardization of core outcomes, but allow individualization in learning pathways.
Accurately assessing one’s own strengths and weaknesses is a difficult task, but it is essential that the practicing physician continually asks whether he or she is delivering the best care possible. The PLP process is designed to deliberately foster this skill in our students.
Each student is paired with a Portfolio Advisor to provide guidance in the PLP process. In order to make informed decisions about a Personalized Learning Plan, the student and advisor need meaningful evidence. An electronic Portfolio captures experiences and performance ratings, which the student and advisor regularly review together. Data is presented along competency domains in addition to traditional scores. This helps the learner better understand one’s individual trajectory of growth in each domain. Milestones clearly describe the next levels of performance, providing direction for future learning.
Flexible Learning Opportunities
Students explore career interests and acknowledge personal challenges to set a course for professional improvement, creating personalized learning objectives in iterative cycles. Flexible learning opportunities, particularly during the Immersion Phase, allow each student to pursue an individualized path to optimally attain one’s learning goals.