December 2021 What I’m Thinking About

How Different is Too Different? How Do We Grapple with the Tension Between Standardization and Contextualization?


Helen Hsu, Olusegun Oyedele, Andrea Gingerich

Date: Tuesday, December 14 2021

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Zoom ID: For connection details, please email


Geographically distributed medical education (DME) programs face a common tension between taking advantage of the strengths of contextual diversity between regional campuses and achieving educational comparability across multiple settings. Each campus has contextual affordances that influence educational innovation and delivery. However, tensions arise when balancing both values of contextual diversity and standardization in the DME setting. Some argue that the need to claim comparability for accreditation purposes risks inhibiting the agility of campuses to respond to their environments and to attune education to unique opportunities afforded to students.

In this WITA session, we will share our lived experiences with this tension in research and education delivery along with our conceptual understanding of educational comparability. Our goal is to open space for dialogue to explore how tensions between valuing standardization and contextualization are best resolved to enable improvements to practice and governance of DME.

Biography: Helen Hsu

Helen is a PhD student in the School of Health Professions Education at Maastricht University. She is also an Evaluation Specialist with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. Her research interest is in distributed medical education, educational governance and evaluation use.

Biography: Olusegun Oyedele

Olusegun is an Associate Professor of Teaching at UBC Faculty of Medicine, Southern Medical Program, located on the beautiful UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna. His research interests focus on small group learning pedagogies, specifically the role of feedback in student learning and how case based learning equips medical students for clinical decision making during clerkship and beyond.

Biography: Andrea Gingerich

Andrea is an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Sciences at the University of Northern British Columbia as well as a CHES Scholar. She is intrigued by variability where the variable judgments and actions are attributed to people misbehaving. Her research studies the varying perspectives that contribute to variability in assessment judgments, supervisory behaviours, and rural professional practices.

Accredited by UBC CPD

The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 15.0 Mainpro+ Group Learning credits. Each physician should claim only those credits accrued through participation in the activity. CFPC Session ID#: 195173-001.

RCPSC Accreditation

The CHES Cutting Edge Speaker Series is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.