Med Educ 2014 Feb;48(2):115-23
Brain and Behaviour Laboratory, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK.
Context: We critically review how medical education can benefit from systematic use of the expert performance approach as a framework for measuring and enhancing clinical practice. We discuss how the expert performance approach can be used to better understand the mechanisms underpinning superior performance among health care providers and how the framework can be applied to create simulated learning environments that present increased opportunities to engage in deliberate practice.
Expert Performance Approach: The expert performance approach is a systematic, evidence-based framework for measuring and analysing superior performance. It has been applied in a variety of domains, but has so far been relatively neglected in medicine and health care. Here we outline the framework and demonstrate how it can be effectively applied to medical education.
Deliberate Practice: Deliberate practice is defined as a structured and reflective activity, which is designed to develop a critical aspect of performance. Deliberate practice provides an opportunity for error detection and correction, repetition, access to feedback and requires maximal effort, complete concentration and full attention. We provide guidance on how to structure simulated learning environments to encourage the accumulation of deliberate practice.
Conclusions: We highlight the role of simulation-based training in conjunction with deliberate practice activities such as reflection, rehearsal, trial-and-error learning and feedback in improving the quality of patient care. We argue that the development of expertise in health care is directly related to the systematic identification and improvement of quantifiable performance metrics. In order to optimise the training of expert health care providers, advances in simulation technology need to be coupled with effective instructional systems design, with the latter being strongly guided by empirical research from the learning and cognitive sciences.