Active Learning and Assessment Tools: Benefits to Pharmacy Educators
Pharmacy educators face a variety of challenges. To ensure optimal first-time pass rates on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination® (NAPLEX®), pharmacy students need to build up their foundational knowledge, strengthen their knowledge application in clinical practice, and sharpen their decision-making skills—all of which are critical to driving optimal course, program, and exam outcomes.
To achieve these goals, educators need access to active learning and assessment tools that are proven effective such as TrueLearn and Picmonic’s solution that integrates easily into the pharmacy curriculum to drive more efficient concept mastery and memory retention and ensure optimal first-time NAPLEX® pass rates. Here are four reasons pharmacy programs should partner with TrueLearn and Picmonic:
Benefit #1: Optimize Academic Hours
One of the significant challenges educators face is a lack of time and resources. With so many responsibilities to handle, educators may find they have little time to devote to improving lesson plans or create active learning experiences for students. Integrating TrueLearn and Picmonic into the curriculum allows educators to optimize their limited academic hours by leveraging critical and objective data to guide lesson planning and instruction while improving students’ mastery of course material with tools such as memory retention algorithms or audio-visual mnemonics. This comprehensive exam prep solution enriches and accelerates students’ learning rates, allowing educators to cover more content across the curriculum within the same period.
Benefit #2: Access to Longitudinal Performance Data
How can faculty objectively and accurately identify struggling or vulnerable students early to allow for adequate remediation? Educators can overcome this if they can track student performance longitudinally from the start of and throughout their journey in pharmacy school. By integrating TrueLearn into their curriculum from day one, educators can utilize the platform’s quizzing features as formative and summative assignments to check students’ comprehension levels and progress. By providing access to such valuable data on students’ performing and learning pace, TrueLearn enables educators to quickly and reliably identify at-risk students at an early stage of the program. Additionally, the platform’s robust data tools will aggregate the data generated from the assessments, enabling programs to monitor progress and performance longitudinally and pinpoint curricular gaps or redundancies to guide content planning and focus.
Benefit #3: Accelerate Student Learning
Identifying at-risk students is only the first step. To ensure that they are adequately prepared, educators need to provide the necessary remediation—a task that uses up valuable time and bandwidth. But what if there was a way for educators to reduce the need for remediation altogether? TrueLearn and Picmonic use active learning techniques that help students learn and retain information more effectively, allowing them to build up a solid foundation of core concepts. Picmonic’s audio-visual mnemonics make it easier for students to take in new information, while TrueLearn’s quizzes can be utilized to test their knowledge comprehension and pinpoint any weak spots. By taking advantage of this synergy, faculty can create a powerful learning loop: students learn with Picmonic, then assess with TrueLearn, then repeat as needed. This allows educators to spend less time re-teaching and reinforcing the basics and can instead focus on accelerating student learning by introducing more advanced concepts within the same time period.
Benefit #4: Maximize Exam Readiness
To ensure optimal first-time NAPLEX® pass rates, educators must integrate Picmonic and TrueLearn from day one. Picmonic helps students overcome the “forgetting curve” through spaced repetition—utilizing retention algorithms to pinpoint the best times to deliver personalized quizzes that prompt students to review the right information at the right time. These quizzes not only help students learn hard-to-remember facts and concepts but also retain this information in their long-term memory. Educators can then take this a step further with TrueLearn’s robust suite of data-analysis tools. By creating online, customized quizzes from TrueLearn’s SmartBank throughout the year, educators provide students with opportunities to apply the knowledge they learned with Picmonic within a low-stakes environment. This not only helps to reduce test anxiety by simulating the exam day experience but also surfaces key insights on the student’s overall performance, allowing students to come into class more prepared, get more out of their courses and training, and ultimately boost their chances of obtaining a first-time pass on the NAPLEX®.
TrueLearn and Picmonic, two active learning platforms built on cognitive research and learning science and powered by a data analytics engine, have been proven to enhance student learning and exam outcomes. By integrating these platforms into the pharmacy curriculum, programs can empower educators with the tools and resources needed to ensure that students can thrive and achieve optimal exam outcomes.
1 Flentje AO, Caturegli I, Kavic SM. Practice makes perfect: Introducing a question bank for ABSITE preparation improves program performance. J Surg Educ. 2020;77(1):54-60. doi:10.1016/j.jsurg.2019.09.005