Scholarship of Learning & Teaching

Better Education

  • If you want to understand the science behind how we learn,
  • If you want to improve medical education for those who come after you,
  • If you believe it’s not too early to take your role as teacher of medicine seriously,
  • If you are open to transformation and leading the change,

... then this path is for you.

Dr. Mangrulkar talks with a medical student

Understanding what science tells us about how to learn effectively is useful for all medical students, and all MDs.

Beyond the seven-plus years of formal education required for medical school and residency, MDs must learn continuously to stay abreast of current medical knowledge and best practices. As doctors, students will continuously teach patients, health professions colleagues and other peers about medicine. In turn, the student’s role as a teacher begins in medical school.

As one of the leaders at the forefront of the ongoing transformation of medical education, the University of Michigan Medical School provides an ideal home for the Scholarship of Learning & Teaching Path of Excellence.

Our Path aims to expose students to the foundational principles that guide learning and teaching in medical education. Students who participate in this Path will gain deeper insight into medical education practices as they experience it as a learner, but more importantly, we hope this experience will have a greater impact on them as they move on to have learners of their own.

Paula T. Ross, PhD, MA, Director of Advancing Scholarship, and Co-Director of the Scholarship of Learning & Teaching Path of Excellence

Through this Path, students will learn to:

  • Apply learning theories in real-world educational settings.
  • Develop a personal and professional learning plan, related to improved learning, teaching or both.
  • Develop and lead a learning session for a clinically related topic.
  • Identify, critique and suggest improvements to a curriculum or curricular component in a health professions domain.
  • Understand factors that impact the learning environment, such as work/life balance and social stressors.
  • Participate in peer teaching and other instructional opportunities.
  • Develop and evaluate assessments.
  • Identify, critique and synthesize medical education research literature on a given topic and summarize key points.
  • Observe and give constructive feedback about a peer’s teaching performance.
  • Identify and analyze learning opportunities (“teachable moments”) in everyday clinical settings.
  • Identify and critically evaluate alternative approaches to evaluating health professions education programs.

Medical education is in the midst of an exciting transformational period. The evidentiary basis of how we should teach the next generation of physicians and other health professionals is exploding with the use of increasingly rigorous research methods, incorporation of big-data analytics, and the inclusion of theoretical constructs from fields like sociology, economics and higher education. Educational leaders have a role in who becomes a physician, how they practice and where they practice; all of these questions have major impacts on the health care delivered in our country and on our society as a whole. Our Path wants to recruit learners motivated to be a part of this crucial work.

John Burkhardt, MD, MA, Lecturer in Emergency Medicine and Learning Health Sciences, and Co-Director of the Scholarship of Learning & Teaching Path of Excellence


The Scholarship of Learning & Teaching Path will prepare interested students to lead change in the delivery, assessment and improvement of medical education, patient education and learning health systems. The Path will serve as a learning community for students and faculty interested in improving lifelong learning in medical education locally, nationally and internationally.

By the end of M2 year, students may choose a focus domain (Learning, Teaching or Medical Education Scholarship) and an advisor before beginning a capstone project. The capstone projects will be suitable for presentation at a professional conference, publication in a peer-reviewed journal, or distribution through general-readership venues such as U-M Deep Blue. Capstones will also be eligible for presentation at the Department of Learning Health Sciences lunch-hour discussion series and the annual U-M Health Professions Education Day conference.