Active Learning

Our highly interactive learning environment is designed for students who want to dig into problems and truly challenge themselves. At Carle Illinois, you won’t simply learn enough to pass a test; you will work in small teams alongside experts in medicine, engineering and science to tackle real-life cases with an interdisciplinary approach that is uniquely Illinois.

Our active learning, engineering-infused curriculum means you will be better prepared for your career as a physician-innovator. As a Carle Illinois student, you’ll experience problem-based learning (the backbone of our organ-based courses), extensive team-based learning in most courses, active learning labs, flipped classrooms, audience response and discussions.


Problem-Based Learning

Problem-based learning is a cornerstone of our engineering-infused curriculum. You will work in teams alongside Carle Illinois’ top faculty to solve authentic, real-world healthcare problems—just like you will in your career as a physician-innovator. Ultimately a more enjoyable experience, this self-directed learning primes and scaffolds your training so you gain deeper understanding of the material and come away with enhanced skills that you’ll retain for life.

Each week you will explore, through the lens of engineering, interrelated concepts centered around one or two real-life medical cases that you’ll work through with a small group of like-minded problem-solvers. Rather than separate physiology, anatomy and pharmacology courses, for example, you will explore all of these issues around a real patient’s case. As a team, you will figure out what you need to learn and understand how to deal with a patient, and future patients, who present with similar problems.

Clinical Integration

Learning clinical skills is seamlessly integrated into our entire curriculum. Not only will you find yourself working in the clinic in your first 10 days at Carle Illinois, you’ll find that you explore many facets of clinical practice fully and cohesively alongside other information. For example, at the same time you learn how the heart works, you will also learn how to examine a patient’s heart, how to use the pertinent machines and equipment, how to interpret the data with which you’re presented, and follow up with that patient in cardiac rehab to see what happens after treatment.

Learning Communities

Your innovation pod—a cohort of eight student peers—will serve as your home for learning, mentoring and development across all four years of the curriculum. During Phase I of the curriculum, you will work with your cohort on cases under the guidance of a faculty Medical Education Facilitator. You will develop longitudinal relationships with your facilitator mentors and physical diagnosis mentors. Your innovation pod promotes peer mentorship as well.

Inter-professional Learning Environment

Your future career as a physician-innovator requires extensive experience collaborating across interdisciplinary teams. Integrated intentionally into the Carle Illinois curriculum, you will participate in simulation experiences alongside health professionals from a range of disciplines, strengthening your ability to provide coordinated care to patients.

Your simulation experiences on healthcare teams at Carle Illinois may include responding to emergency situations or operating in surgical teams. These opportunities will enrich your ability to collaborate with a variety of healthcare providers and equip you with the knowledge and skills required for the real-life scenarios you will encounter as a physician-innovator.