Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

From the book, “If Life is a Game, These are the Rules” by Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.

[This page is under construction during initial implementation - updates after launch on May 13, 2019 will be posted here.]

June, 2019 update

  • Getting Started Guide updated with instructions for modules to complete the first semester for year 1.
  • An observation data collection form is added.
  • A sample proposal for submitting a curriculum change to add EPA Thinking.  

Course Materials for "EPA Thinking - Becoming Entrustable"

Everything is provided here with free access for a medical school to introduce students to the type of thinking needed to perform the Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency (EPAs).  Residency programs consider all thirteen EPAs to be essential on day 1 of their postgraduate education.  They are derived from a previously determined set of clincal competencies that are required by the ACGME to evaluate progress of resident physicians in the acquisition of clinical skills. 

Current goal:

  • My current goal is to invite all interested institutions to use the materials for conducting trial courses in EPA Thinking and, where the interest permits, to collaborate with me by pooling Quality Improvement survey data to support a publication. 
  • At the point of publication, appropriate updates will be made to make the contents here consitent with published information.
  • There are enough EPA modules available here for institutions to evaluate whether they are interested in participating in such a trial run. 
  • The four EPA modules plus an ESP General Principles module contain enough teaching materials to fill a curriculum schedule up to the the holiday break.  The remainder will be sent by email for those who want to participate. This will establish email communication for consultation and sharing experience.  
  • Prior experience with each part of this teaching approach has already worked well in comparable settings here at Texas Tech and other schools where I have consulted with noticeable increases in both degree of integration and degree of engagement of student participants. 

Long term goal:

  • My long term goal is to facilitate the general awareness that EPA Thinking is simply the outcome of skilled thinking producing skilled learning.  
  • EPA Thinking can prepare a student to achieve success even prior to medical school because it does not depend on performance of actual clinical activities.  Rather, it depicts a way of thinking that is both a practice and a goal.  
  • In my ideal world, the students will know more about themselves as learners and about the opportunities for EPA Thinking in undergraduate medical education than those who are evaluating them.  
  • Publication of this course in a venue such as MedEdPORTAL will be a first step in alerting the medical education community. 
  • Subsequent to publication of the EPA Thinking Course the remainder of the modules will be posted here for free access without the need for notification. 

- John Pelley

EPA "Thinking"

Awareness of the process by which students think and learn is the most important and yet least understood contributor to the acquisition of clinical skill.  It is not generally well understood, for example, that people have different preferences for taking in information, for organizing information, for retrieving learned information, for generating alternative hypotheses about a problem, and for prioritizing the likelihood of the most logical hypothesis.  As a result, educators have a generalized erroneous belief that students are limited to their current way of thinking and that this limitation can only be addressed through improved teaching and hard work by the students. 

  • There is ample evidence that students can both strengthen and diversify their thinking skills by teaching themselves through self-regulated deliberate practice.  The evidence from brain research has produced several prominent national reports with findings that knowledge of metacognition is the primary means to accomplish this. 
  • This course in EPA Thinking will guide students in acquiring the awareness that learning results from a specific thinking process, namely the Experiential Learning Cycle (ELC), and that the ELC is processed by specialized areas in the cortex. 
  • Knowledge of this learning process is systematically explored throughout the course, and applied to the current curriculum, so that both the students and their teachers can identify individualized strategies designed to build the skills needed for EPA Thinking.