Principle:  How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know. 

     Students naturally make connections between pieces of knowledge. When those connections form knowledge structures that are accurately and meaningfully organized, students are better able to retrieve and apply their knowledge effectively and efficiently. In contrast, when knowledge is connected in inaccurate or random ways, students can fail to retrieve or apply it appropriately (Ambrose, Bridges, Lovett, DiPietro, & Norman, 2010, p.4).

     One way to think about this is that knowledge doesn't just pour into some kind of 'cognitive bucket', in reality, based on learning research, it organizes itself into frameworks.   New knowledge is constructed as it relates to existing knowledge.   

     Application to Teaching.  So, as our students at EVMS learn the infinite number of things they will learn while they are with us, we can help them by providing structure to the knowledge.  We can help them place the things we teach them in an organized structure that makes sense. 

     We are training physicians and physicians are health care problem solvers.    The clinical logic they will use in looking at, diagnosing, and treating the health care challenges they meet provides a logical structure that we can "hang" the rest of the knowledge on.   

     This clinical reasoning or clinical logic provides a Governing Paradigm--that is, a structure that helps unify all the other things our students will learn.   



For more information visit Carnegie Mellon's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Education Innovation


Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., Lovett, M. C., DiPietro, M., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.