Knowledge Retention Using “Relay”: A Novel Active-Learning Technique

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INTRODUCTION: Many residency programs utilize passive didactic lectures despite mixed evidence for knowledge retention. This prospective study investigated the efficacy of "relay," an active-learning technique, as measured by residents' knowledge retention and attitudes compared to traditional format.

METHODS: Faculty presented lectures to four family medicine residency programs on a randomized schedule. Lectures were followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer (Q&A) session or relay session. A relay is a collaborative, question-based game. The primary outcome was knowledge retention at 3 months, comparing Q&A to relay sessions as measured by a multiple-choice assessment. Responses were only included if a given resident completed knowledge assessments for both Q&A and relay sessions, to allow for intraresident adjustments, in addition to program, training year, and lecturer/topic. Secondary outcomes included residents' self-perceived knowledge and engagement as surveyed by an ordinal scale immediately following the learning session.

RESULTS: The primary analysis included 51 responses from 18 unique residents. The adjusted mean knowledge assessment score at 3 months was not statistically different after the relay sessions compared to Q&A (67% vs 60%, respectively; 7% difference, 95% CI: -4 to 18%, P=.20). For the secondary outcomes of learner attitudes (n=143 responses), learners reported greater engagement after the relay sessions compared to Q&A (51% vs 28% "very engaged"; overall P=.003), but self-perceived knowledge was not significantly different (overall P=.05, rounded down).

CONCLUSIONS: The relay technique did not show significant difference in 3-month knowledge retention, nor immediate self-perceived knowledge, despite greater learner self-perceived engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2022

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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