Medical schools are also trying to maximize a student’s attention using interactive activities alongside short videos or podcasts that are not easily interrupted by the vibration of an incoming text message in a lecture hall. “Texting while you’re driving is the same as being drunk and driving,” said Dr. Jeffries. “It’s the same in the classroom. Texting while learning is the same as being drunk while learning.”
Case Western Reserve University’s medical school in Cleveland, Ohio, has had a no-lecture curriculum since it opened in 2004. By the summer of 2019, UVM will have eliminated all of its lecture-style courses, moving to an entirely active learning environment in which students won’t be able to snooze or text their way through the parts of a lecture that don’t hold their attention.
“We’ve used the principles of neuroscience of learning to try to figure out how best to convey the information,” Dr. Jeffries said, “how to make it sticky and more meaningful to the practice of medicine. Students can then apply knowledge at a higher level and synthesize new information and paradigms to make higher-level connections when they encounter other clinical problems.