Bipolar Disorder: A Self-Directed Learning Module

Publication ID Published Version
9132 April 4, 2012 1


Medical education is increasingly distributed among geographically distant sites and campuses. The patient encounters may be limited by teaching time constraints, practice setting restrictions, seasonal variation in patient availability and limited duration of clerkships. Simulation has been classically performed with standardized patients and with high fidelity integrated mannequins but these modalities become impractical for students training at clinical sites remote from the main university campus. To meet licensing bodies’ requirements for medical education, the schools need to identify the types of patients or clinical conditions that students must encounter in each discipline and are encouraged to use simulated experiences to fill gaps in exposure. In addition, schools must provide comparable educational experiences and equivalent methods of assessment across all instructional sites within a given discipline. Given the factors described above, educators from various medical disciplines established national clerkship curriculum guidelines and created databases of computer based simulated cases to cover the curriculum. For example, the pediatric CLIPP cases include 31 modules and the surgery WISE MD has 15 modules, which are proprietary.

Since 2010, a taskforce of educators now including representatives from the Universities of Chicago, California Davis, Nebraska Medical Center, Central Florida, Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU) and Medical University of South Carolina have joined forces to develop a free national database of psychiatry teaching cases. The pilot modules (adolescent depression, dementia with comorbidities, psychiatric interview, somatization disorder and bipolar disorder) were developed using the ADMSEP Clinical Learning Objective Guide for Psychiatry Education of Medical Students (2007) as a framework. The taskforce developed anonymous student and faculty surveys, to ensure that periodic updates and improvements are based on consistent user feedback about the modules’ content and teaching areas. So far the surveys have been IRB-approved at 2 of the participating medical schools, GHSU and University of Central Florida. The preliminary research results for the Bipolar Self-Learning Module will be presented in the Instructor’s Guide.

The potential advantages of utilizing a self-learning resource are its portability (it can be viewed anywhere where a computer is available), availability of repetitive viewing, and the standardized content built into the script. In addition, the resource allows revision when advances in medical knowledge and users’ feedback dictate content changes.


Foster A. Bipolar Disorder: A Self-Directed Learning Module. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2012. Available from:

Contains time-sensitive information that will likely be inaccurate, obsolete, or irrelevant by November 30, 2014

Educational Objectives

  1. To recognize symptoms of bipolar disorder.
  2. To make a differential diagnosis.
  3. To recommend work up for a mood episode.
  4. To assess patient’s risk of harm to self and others.
  5. To suggest a treatment plan for current mood episode.
  6. To recognize and address treatment non-adherence.


  • Bipolar Disorder (MeSH), Suicide Risk, Medication Adherence (MeSH), Mood Episode, ADMSEP Clinical Simulation


  • Medical
    • Psychiatry


  • Interpersonal & Communication Skills
  • Knowledge for Practice
  • Patient Care

Instructional Methods

  • Independent Learning

Academic Focus

  • Basic Sciences
    • Psychology/Behavioral Science
  • Clinical Sciences
    • Clinical Exam
    • Clinical Skills/Doctoring

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Medical Student
    • Nursing Student
  • Professional School Post-Graduate Training
    • Fellow
    • Resident


  • Multimedia

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ISSN 2374-8265