Instructional Methods and Strategies

///Instructional Methods and Strategies
Instructional Methods and Strategies2018-01-29T14:39:01+00:00

Instructional Methods and Strategies

A great digital repository is MerlotELIXR. It showcases 70+ multimedia stories that are discipline-specific. These are not specific to medical education, however some of the examples can be helpful to give you some ideas on how to implement different instructional methods. We are fortunate that UIC pays for a subscription to If you are not familiar with it, it is a massive repository of videos where you can learn almost anything. Go to and log in with your netid/password, and then search for ‘teacher tech tips.’ Lots of great resources here.

Active Learning

Active learning refers to the various ways in which learners engage in the learning process that do not include passively listening to lecture.  Some connect the terms ‘active learning’ and the ‘flipped classroom.’ They are related, and her is how: according to Moffett (2015), “[t]he flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed” (p. 331). The ‘active’ portion refers to the in-class experience where there are engaging activities to promote understanding.

Pre-Recorded Lecture Content

One way to bypass the standard lecture in a face-to-face session is to create short, to the point, videos on a particular topic. There are many tools that you can use to create these types of videos, and rely on your instructional designers to help with the process. Some examples include:

  • PowToon
    • Dr. Amy Lin uses PowToon to create short videos on various topics in Pathology.


  • Explain Everything (mobile device – works best on a tablet)
    • Dr. Elliot Kaufman uses this tool to create short videos on topics related to Medical Genetics.


  • Echo Personal Capture
    • This is a free service; work with your instructional designers to learn how to use it.
  • Adobe Captivate
  • Adobe Presenter
  • VoiceThread
    • VT is a unique way to deliver pre-recorded content (voice + media) to your students. It is available from within each course in Blackboard. If you would like to learn more about it, contact your instructional designer. (Here is their website for a synopsis:

Note: A best practice is to keep your videos UNDER 7-10 minutes. The point of using these tools is that you are not recreating a full hour-long lecture for preparatory material. They should be just one of the ways in which students can prepare for a face-to-face session, where the focus should be on active learning techniques to keep them engaged.

Polling for Understanding

In COM we use a product called Poll Everywhere. It is an audience response system that uses mobile devices, Twitter, and the web. Responses are displayed in real-time to promote discussion. Here is a document created for faculty to use it effectively.

Mobile Apps

According to a 2016 survey on technology use by UI College of Medicine students, 70% of them indicated that they frequently use educational apps on their mobile devices. While we have not gone to a full mobile device implementation for students and faculty, many students already use these devices for educational purposes. As faculty are increasingly using these devices for teaching, we thought it might be helpful to list some resources you might consider implementing in your instructional sessions.

  • The Library of the Health Sciences has a great page listing all of the apps that are available to all UI students and faculty. It includes apps such as:
    • PubMed for Handhelds
    • UpToDate
    • Access Medicine (and others in this series)
    • DynaMed
    • Clinical Pharmacology
  • National Institutes of Health Mobile Gallery

Subject Specific Mobile Apps

If you have suggestions for apps to be included on this list, contact your instructional designer.

Selected References

Issa, N., Mayer, R. E., Schuller, M., Wang, E., Shapiro, M. B., & DaRosa, D. a. (2013). Teaching for understanding in medical classrooms using multimedia design principles. ​Medical Education, 47​, 388-396.

Moffett, J. (2015). Twelve tips for ‘flipping’ the classroom. Medical Teacher, 37, 331-336.

Walling, A., Istas, K., Bonaminio, G. A., Paolo, A. M., Fontes, J. D., Davis, N., & Berardo, B. A. (2016). Medical student perspectives of active learning: A focus group study. Teaching and Learning in Medicine. DOI: 10.10080/10401334.2016.1247708

White, C., Bradley, E., Martindale, J., Roy, P., Patel, K., Yoon, M., & Worden, M. K. (2014). Why are medical students ‘checking out’ of active learning in a new curriculum? Medical Education, 48, 315-324. DOI:10.1111/medu.12356