Effective, successful integration of Aquifer cases into the curriculum depends upon careful consideration and planning.

Proven Integration Strategies Include:

Creating clear learning objectives from the Aquifer cases that link to your course objectives
  • Articulate clearly to students how the case learning objectives fit into the overarching learning objectives for the course.
  • Discuss the use of Aquifer cases in student orientation materials.
  • Require student completion of the cases or a relevant subset of cases.
  • Fill gaps in clinical exposure with virtual patients – count completion of the case toward clinical case log entries, which assists in meeting LCME standards as well.
  • Include case content in formative or summative assessment.

Incorporating time into your curriculum for the Aquifer cases

Research has demonstrated that the most effective integration strategy is building in time for students to work on the cases.

  • Eliminate redundant teaching from didactic sessions, required reading, other course assignments or unrelated assessments.
  • Schedule time for students to work on the cases during the course.
  • Ensure sufficient access to computers and the internet, particularly during clinical assignments and away rotations.

Blending Aquifer content into clinical teaching
  • Ask clinical faculty to review case summaries for common presentations, building on the content before or after clinical encounters.
  • Compare and contrast the presentation of Aquifer cases to students’ own patients.
  • Encourage teaching residents to draw from the case resources – they likely completed the cases as students themselves!
  • Use the Aquifer clinical reasoning structure to frame and expand discussions of patient workup and management.

Building on Aquifer content in didactic sessions
  • Align required case completion to your course didactic sessions.
  • Use Aquifer cases to guide sessions on required competencies:  communication skills, professionalism, cultural competency and systems-based practice.  
  • Create active learning sessions––such as team-based learning or flipped classroom sessions––that require students to problem-solve and apply what they have learned. 

Creating new learning experiences that elaborate on Aquifer content

Educators have reported a number of innovative methods for expanding on Aquifer content––taking clinical learning to a higher level:

  • Clinical reasoning assignments
  • Patient safety and quality improvement exercises
  • High fidelity simulation exercises
  • Standardized patient sessions
  • Reflection writing exercises

Sharing Innovations

Do you have integration strategies that have worked well for you? Do you have teaching innovations that you’d like to share? Contact us. We’d like to disseminate them!