Zhao1 noted that “participating in a learning community is positively linked to engagement as well as student self-reported outcomes and overall satisfaction with college“. In the application of learning communities to medical student training, a review in 2009 of 18 of 124 school identified the following goals2

  • fostering communication
  • promoting caring, trust, and teamwork;
  • helping students establish support networks for academics and social reasons.

Learning communities in medical education are becoming more and more common. A survey in 2014 in which 126 of medical schools 151 responded3, found that 66 schools (52.4%) had learning communities. Almost half of the remaining schools were considering them.

The question for CTI and others interested in replacing offline curricula with non-moderated online curricula is:

  1. Zhao Chun-Mei|Kuh. Adding Value: Learning Communities and Student EngagementResearch in Higher Education. 2004;45(2):115-138. doi:10.1023/B:RIHE.0000015692.88534.de.
  2. Ferguson Kristi J, Wolter Ellen M, Yarbrough Donald B, Carline Jan D, Krupat Edward. Defining and Describing Medical Learning Communities: Results of a National SurveyAcad Med. 2009;84(11):1549-1556. doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181bf5183.
  3. Smith Sunny, Shochet Robert, Keeley Meg, Fleming Amy, Moynahan Kevin. The Growth of Learning Communities in Undergraduate Medical EducationAcad Med. 2014;89(6):928-933. doi:10.1097/ACM.0000000000000239.