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The way we have structured them, Individual Learning Plans have 4 components:
  1. Overall learning goals- Goals are stated as broad learning desires on the part of the learner. They may include words such as "understand," "learn," "explore." Unlike objectives, goals do not have to be demonstrable or testable.
  2. Learning objectives - Objectives are concrete tasks that answer the question, "At the conclusion of this learning activity, I will be able to..." Objectives necessarily have a verb at the beginning and a task that can be tested or assessed in some meaningful way. Objectives may need to be modified as the individual learning plan unfolds. This is perfectly fine and should be done. Click here for a couple of pdf files with a list of appropriate verbs.
  3. Assessment Tool & Approach -
    • Tool -Resources and strategies are the materials, people, objects, webpages, databases, books, magazines, journals, lectures, and any other kind of "stuff" that will be used to meet the learning objective(s). Although it would be convenient and possibly ideal to know all of the resources and strategies needed at the start of an individual learning plan, this is not necessary at all. New resources or strategies will likely be discovered as the individual learning plan unfolds and comes to fruition. Just add these as they come into play.
    • Assessment approach - It is important to be able to determine if the individual learning plan has been successful. Assessing this success can be done by the learner or by other individuals including peers, non-physicians, patients, family members of patients, nurses, technicians, faculty members, completion of an online course, and, probably most importantly, self-reflection.
    • Self-Reflection on Future Improvement - In the spirit of continuous quality improvement, individuals completing an individual learning plan should reflect on their experience with this learning plan and make some tentative plans as to how they could improve in implementing individual learning plans (in general) or create new individual learning plans to further explore the topic covered in this individual learning plan.
  4. Timeline - Without any kind of deadline, individual learning plans are never completed. Participants in individual learning plans should estimate the time needed to complete the planned individual learning plan. These dates should be considered as estimates and will likely change based on the progress toward completing the individual learning plan as it unfolds. Since individual learning plans necessarily cover learning areas and tasks with which the learner is relatively unfamiliar, the pace of learning will likely be unpredictable and uneven. The dates should change to reflect the ongoing process of the individual learning plan.


Below are examples of Individual Learning Plans...

Learning Goal
Learning Objective
Assessment Tool & Approach
Timeline (Start-End)
What do you want to learn or to improve on or to gain a better understanding of or increase your proficiency at?
How will you facilitate this or what resources or people will you utilize to help you increase your knowledge or proficiency in this area?
What tool(s) will you use to measure this better understanding or greater knowledge or better proficiency?
Start: Date you've written your goal

End: Date you will measure/test your assessment.
Better understand the
management of septic
shock in the pediatric emergency department and the pediatric intensive care unit
1. Review the literature on pediatric septic shock
2. Discuss with attending physician during a PICU rotation and Pediatric ED rotation management strategies involving pediatric patients in septic shock.
3. Prepare and present a lecture on septic shock at the next Thursday afternoon seminar
1. Verbal feedback by attending physicians
2. Written evaluation forms completed by those present during the lecture
Start: Aug/2010

End: Oct/2010
Gain a better understanding of different options and uses of topical anesthetics for painful procedures.
1. List different types of topical anesthetics available
2. Review literature on topical anesthetic use in the pediatric emergency department
3. Read drug information on Lexi-comp and Cincinnati Children's Website
1. Self reflection of knowledge gained from completion of the learning objectives.
Start: Aug/2010

Eng: Sept/2010
Learn about pediatric eye emergencies
1. Review pediatric emergency literature on eye emergencies, including corneal abrasions, hyphema, and neonatal conjunctivitis
2. Prepare and give lecture on eye emergencies in pediatric patients during December seminar day.
1. Standard written evaluation forms completed by residents, fellows and attending physicians present during the lecture.
Start: Oct/2010

End: Dec/2010
Become proficient at performing IV placement in children
1. Spend time outside of clinical duties performing IV lines with an experienced pediatric ED nurse
1. Verbal feedback from nursing during individual sessions
Start: Oct/2010

End: Nov/2010
Learn and memorize commonly used medications in the pediatric emergency department
1. List pediatric critical care and convenient medication dosing
2. Review medication dosing then recite the dosing during a seminar
1. Verbal feedback by fellows and attendings at the seminar
Start: Nov/2010

End: Jan/2011
Gain proficiency at knowing all the "eponymous fractures"
1. Review textbooks and articles about named fractures
2. Find X rays of specific fracture and match to name of fracture
3. Create a game for Thursday afternoon seminar
1. Verbal feedback from fellows and attending physicians
Start: Nov/2010

End: Feb/2011

Learning Goal
Learning Objective
Assessment Tool & Approach
Timeline (Start-End)
Learn how to create and submit a research proposal
to the Institutional Review Board at Loma Linda
Create and Submit a research proposal to the IRB at
Loma Linda
Acceptance of the IRB proposal by the Office
of Sponsored Research
July 2011 - December 2011
Understand how to perform a focused and emergency department appropriate neonatal physical examination
Perform a focused and emergency department appropriate neonatal physical examination during August First Thursday
Verbal feedback from fellows and faculty attending August First Thursday Seminar
July - August 2011