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Teaching poster design to enhance research presentation quality at academic conferences: a guide for educators


Poster sessions are one of the most common platforms for presenting research at academic conferences, yet posters are often inefficient at transferring knowledge to their readers due to suboptimal design and content selection. Physician trainees may not receive education on constructing posters as a traditional part of their residency curriculum. The purpose of this work is to propose a curriculum that will provide residents foundational knowledge and skills needed for designing high-quality research posters. The curriculum uses the flipped classroom model, a pedagogical approach that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content outside of the classroom and moves activities into the classroom. Preparatory work includes watching an educational video on ‘how to create a better research poster in less time’ and preparing a poster to be presented at an upcoming conference. An 1-hour workshop is conducted during protected resident didactic time. It incorporates a 10-min slide show presentation on poster design and 50 min of active learning. During the active learning component, learners are asked to ‘think–pair–share’ to construct a research poster rubric using the information they just learnt. The learners work as a group to evaluate sample research posters. The class is then broken down into small groups of 2–3 learners to spend time working on their own posters and provide peer feedback. Following the workshop, residents continue to develop their research posters for conference presentation. This curriculum has the potential to enhance the quality of resident research posters presented at academic conferences, advance research education and ultimately improve dissemination of research within academic communities. The lesson plan outlined in this work can be used as a guide for teaching poster design to physician trainees in a number of specialties and may encourage programmes to consider integrating poster design as a formal part of the residency curriculum.


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