ChangeMedEd Initiative

Envisioning the Master Adaptive Learner


Physicians need to rapidly access and interpret continuously evolving information and understand how the use of new data supports the delivery of the best patient care. 

One of the aims of the AMA’s ChangeMedEd Initiative is to assist physicians in becoming master adaptive learners—expert, self-directed, self-regulated and lifelong workplace learners.

Preparing today's medical students for careers in the changing health care system requires more than clinical skills. Faculty must help medical students develop skills in adaptive learning, too.

"We have no idea what medical systems will look like 10 years from now when today's students will enter the workforce, let alone when they've been in practice 20 years. By training them to be master adaptive learners, we are giving them the tools to adapt."

Martin V. Pusic MD, PhD, associate professor of emergency medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital

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Tomorrow’s best physicians will be those who continually learn, adjust and innovate as new information and best practices evolve, reflecting adaptive expertise in response to practice challenges. As the first volume in the American Medical Association’s MedEd Innovation Series, The Master Adaptive Learner is an instructor-focused guide covering models for how to train and teach future clinicians who need to develop these adaptive skills and utilize them throughout their careers.

Read this paper that describes themes drawn from educational experiences at various learner levels to illustrate strategies that may be used to cultivate adaptive expertise.

Read this paper exploring the necessity to teach emergency medicine physicians adaptive expertise, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Read this paper in which medical students are assessed with previously developed instruments in order to identify measures that can effectively quantify master adaptive learner development.

Read this paper, in which researchers describe a conceptual literature-based model for a master adaptive learner that provides a shared language to facilitate exploration and conversation about both successes and struggles during the learning process.

Faculty development CME

"Doctor” derives from the Latin word for “teacher.” Teach yourself to best enhance your effectiveness as an educator to patients, students and teams.

Read this paper, in which researchers examine the important internal and contextual factors that can impede or foster master adaptive learning.

Read this paper in which the authors review a selective aspect of learning to become an adaptive expert: the capacity to optimally balance routine approaches that maximize efficiency with innovative ones where energy and resources are used to customize actions for novel or difficult situations.

Read this paper that describes educators’ perspectives about the learning environment needed to promote the development of master adaptive learners.