Original Article

Using a Chat-Based Trivia Activity to Foster Community in Residency

Authors: Orhue Odaro, MD, Jonathan Lim, MD


Objectives: For residency programs rotating at multiple sites, building a strong community can be challenging when house staff are geographically separated. Medical educators have had widespread use of technology to create virtual classrooms, discussion boards, and other activities. Less is known, however, about smaller-scale use of technology such as longitudinal use of chat to engage learners. We developed a chat-based trivia activity using social media tools to promote learning, community, and belonging in a large multisite residency program.

Methods: Residents in our large academic program were invited to participate in a question-based activity called Internal Medicine Trivia Thursdays (IMTT) via the chat application GroupMe. Three to five questions were asked of all of the participants using a multimedia format. Question content included topics from the residency didactic curriculum and trivia about program leadership. A voluntary, anonymous survey on the effect of the activity on learning and belonging was sent to all of the residents at the end of the academic year.

Results: Of the 224 residents, there were 48 survey respondents (21.4% response rate). When asked about overall satisfaction with the program, 43.8% (21/48) of all of the respondents reported feeling “somewhat satisfied” or “very satisfied.” Residents who frequently participated in Internal Medicine Trivia Thursdays experienced greater excitement about learning and a greater sense of community compared with those with infrequent to no participation.

Conclusions: Our intervention used a theoretical framework of connectivism to design a virtual learning activity to engage residents, as well as to foster community among residents and between residents and program leadership. We believe this virtual learning experience is low cost and feasible, requiring mostly facilitator time. This study also contributes to the literature by evaluating outcomes related to social belonging and engagement. Future iterations should aim to optimize the methods of delivery by considering user-friendliness and the ability to opt out of the activity.

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