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IQ Learning

IQ Learning

In most circles, IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient, a measure of one's intellectual aptitude. Here at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, IQ stands for Inquiry Team, the main learning vehicle in the first two years of the WR2 curriculum. 

IQ Teams meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for two hours each day. Students receive two cases on Monday and work on them throughout the week, both in the classroom and on their own; cases have been crafted and tested by internal and external educational experts. At the start of the week, students review these cases with no prior knowledge of what is to be covered, much as a physician would when seeing a new patient. Each case is read one paragraph at a time, after which team members ask pertinent questions. At the end of each session, each IQ Team develops its own learning objectives that will help to generate a clinical framework and to guide their learning over the course of the week. On Friday, the official learning objectives are provided so that students may ascertain how well they were able to derive the key learning points of each case. Learning via IQ groups ensures an experiential, not passive learning experience, and permits the teaching of the basic sciences in the clinical context.

A faculty facilitator presides over each group and ensures that learning stays on track. The facilitator's role is generally not to provide knowledge, but rather to guide the students themselves through the process of discovery. Additionally, the faculty facilitator provides feedback to each student to help improve individual performance.


To summarize, IQ team learning helps to:

  1. Integrate the core concepts of health and disease prevention into the curriculum.
  2. Hone the skills of scholarship, critical thinking, and lifelong learning.
  3. Encourage an active interchange of ideas between learners and faculty.
  4. Immerse the student in a graduate school educational environment characterized by flexibility and high expectations for independent study and self-directed learning.
  5. Foster the ability to work in teams, a skill that is critical to success in health care.
  6. Translate basic science knowledge into the framework of medicine and health, the clinical context, population-science, and social and behavioral science.

Observe A Sample Case

Below is a video demonstration for how an IQ Team operates using a case related to Diabetes Mellitus. This particular demonstration video is simulating a Wednesday session. The Team read through the case on Monday, developed their Learning Objectives, and conducted research on these objectives. Now they are meeting to discuss the information that they discovered through their studies in relation to this case. 

IQ Team Definitions

Check-In - Check-in is an important part of IQ. Sharing what is going on in your life may seem trivial or even a waste of time, but it brings the group together and improves group function.  This is key for forming close teams and it stresses the importance of group dynamics and interactions in the WR2 Curriculum.

Scribe - The team member who is responsible for taking notes on the white board on Mondays while the team is brainstorming Learning Objectives. The Scribe captures key questions and comments from the group on the white board and then works with the group to consolidate these points into Learning Objectives.

Team Leader - The team member who is assigned responsibility for running the logistics of the session. There may be one leader per week or one leader per case. Typically, the leader sets the agenda and helps to keep the team discussion on time and on track.

Learning Objectives - A targeted learning topic or question that will be discussed in the IQ group on either Wednesday or Friday. It is researched by the students after the Monday morning IQ session in preparation for Wednesday or Friday discussion.

Check-Out - Check-out is continuous quality improvement. It is during this time that the function of the team and the teammates is continually improved. Normally it is filled with commentary on yourself, the group as a whole, individual members and the facilitator. Groups can always get better, so there should always be constructive criticism.  Check-out functions as a tool for reflection on group and individual performance and provides a simple metric for measuring group process and functionality.  It serves as a way to team-build through sharing compliments and concerns and because it is objective, should serve as constructive feedback.