ASA National Scientific Meeting 2013

Well I’ve been educated for another year. At least that’s what the piece of paper says. As I travel home after an enjoyable four days in Canberra some reflections on this, one of our national Anaesthetic meetings – the Australian Society of Anaesthetists National Scientific Congress.

My colleagues in the education world maintain the lecture and all didactic teaching is of no value.
That is NOT reflected in attendance at plenary sessions.
I suppose if I were to be tested on the content of slides shown during the meeting then yes I would have retained very little. But what about the flavour of what was being said: the nuances of presenter; where they placed their vocal emphasis;  where they wandered off script. These are of immense value adding valuable insight to aid understanding. Perhaps this may be a facet of the didactic lecture that has not been measured.
The classical educational lecture evaluation is centred around the transfer of knowledge from a content expert (the lecturer) to the content naive. But at a professional education meeting such as this, is this really the case?
Most in the audience have a general background knowledge of the topic being discussed equal to the lecturer. It is in the interpretation, new emphases, new application where the learning takes place and the lecturer expert. And the didactic format gives the lecturer the opportunity to tell a story. To reemphasise facts, assemble them in order and lead the audience to extrapolate and climb to a new understanding.
Yes this new knowledge needs reflection and discussion. But with a content expert, not necessarily the lecturer. Is this the secret of a successful scientific education meeting. Provision of space and time for discussion between delegates, with or without the lecturer present. How is this environment facilitated – discussion over meals, tea, coffee and even a glass of wine.
Time to reflect. Time to learn. Ill just go refill my glass………