Scholarship of Learning & Teaching

Better Education

  • If you want to understand the science behind how we learn,
  • If you want to improve medical education for those who come after you,
  • If you believe it’s not too early to take your role as teacher of medicine seriously,
  • If you are open to transformation and leading the change,

... then this path is for you.

Dr. Mangrulkar talks with a medical student

Understanding what science tells us about how to learn effectively is useful for all medical students, and all MDs.

Beyond the seven-plus years of formal education required for medical school and residency, MDs must learn continuously to stay abreast of current medical knowledge and best practices. As doctors, students will continuously teach patients, health professions colleagues and other peers about medicine. In turn, the student’s role as a teacher begins in medical school.

As one of the leaders at the forefront of the ongoing transformation of medical education, the University of Michigan Medical School provides an ideal home for the Scholarship of Learning & Teaching Path of Excellence.

Our Path aims to expose students to the foundational principles that guide learning and teaching in medical education. Students who participate in this Path will gain deeper insight into medical education practices as they experience it as a learner, but more importantly, we hope this experience will have a greater impact on them as they move on to have learners of their own.

Paula T. Ross, PhD, MA, Director of Advancing Scholarship, and Co-Director of the Scholarship of Learning & Teaching Path of Excellence

Through this Path, students will learn to:

  • Develop an understanding of key learning theories and pedagogical approaches to professions education.
  • Explore options for engagement in the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching.
  • Compare and contrast different theories of learning and their application in medical education.
  • Apply theoretical explanations to their own learning context as well as that of their peers.
  • Be able to develop a research project or curricular innovation informed by theory.

Medical education is in the midst of an exciting transformational period. The evidentiary basis of how we should teach the next generation of physicians and other health professionals is exploding with the use of increasingly rigorous research methods, incorporation of big-data analytics, and the inclusion of theoretical constructs from fields like sociology, economics and higher education. Educational leaders have a role in who becomes a physician, how they practice and where they practice; all of these questions have major impacts on the health care delivered in our country and on our society as a whole. Our Path wants to recruit learners motivated to be a part of this crucial work.

John Burkhardt, MD, MA, Lecturer in Emergency Medicine and Learning Health Sciences, and Co-Director of the Scholarship of Learning & Teaching Path of Excellence


The Scholarship of Learning & Teaching Path will prepare interested students to lead change in the delivery, assessment and improvement of medical education, patient education and learning health systems. The Path will serve as a learning community for students and faculty interested in improving lifelong learning in medical education locally, nationally and internationally.

By the end of M2 year, students may choose a focus domain (Learning, Teaching or Medical Education Scholarship) and an advisor before beginning their Capstone for Impact project. These projects will be suitable for presentation at a professional conference, publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and/or eligible for presentation at the Department of Learning Health Sciences lunch-hour discussion series and the annual U-M Health Professions Education Day conference.