Case Inquiry Program

Girl smiling in a small group session.

Case Inquiry (IQ) is a student-centered, small group learning method that is adapted from the “new” Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach introduced at McMaster University School of Medicine in 2005. IQ is the cornerstone of learning in the Western Reserve2 Curriculum. Nine students join with one faculty facilitator three times a week to approach paper cases that naturally evoke inquiry and motivation for learning.

Students develop their own learning objectives for each of two cases on Mondays and then return on Wednesdays and Fridays to discuss the reading, research and learning that they have accomplished relating to their objectives for each case. Wednesday and Friday IQ sessions are highly discussion based and students collaborate to understand key concepts and build knowledge. As with other components of the WR2 Curriculum, the IQ process promotes deep concept learning. Unlike many forms of more traditional PBL, all students within the IQ team are responsible for researching all student-generated learning objectives. This assures that all students take primary responsibility for their own learning and are prepared to discuss all objectives.

Each IQ session ends with a phase called "checkout" that allows for the continuous quality improvement of the team function and provides regular opportunity for self-reflection and peer feedback. Throughout their experience in IQ, students develop skills of teamwork, professionalism, critical thinking and effective utilization of resources (Evidence-based IQ), including primary literature.

A number of exercises are developmentally introduced to the IQ teams over the course of the Foundations of Medicine and Health with the goals of promoting reflection (4-Step Reflection Template), practice in presenting patients (Student Oral Presentation), development of clinical reasoning and interprofessional education (Team Tools).

IQ Resources:

Video demonstration for how an IQ Team operates using a case related to Diabetes Mellitus.