How-To: Asynchronous Learning for Sinai EM

Basic Rules:

  • 5 hours of asynchronous learning  = 1 conference day missed
  • Choose any material that’s on foambase (not on foambase, submit it to get it up on the site)
  • 1 conference day off per quarter (4 maximum a year)
  • 4 residents maximum can miss one conference (i.e. everyone can’t take the same day off)
  • To have a resource (blog/podcast) considered consumed, you have to write between 1-3 multiple choice questions about the material (1 if less than 15 mins, 2 for 15-30 mins, 3 for more than 30 mins)
  • Asynchronous learning must be completed and submitted (aka “cashed-in”) A THE LATEST, the day of the conference to be missed.

Step 1: Registering

Register an account with foam (some may already have one from previous conferences, can reset your password if you don’t remember it) asyn 1


Registration page

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Step 2: Setting your affiliation to sinaiem

Click onto settings and enter your name and Sinai affiliation.

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Write your name. To change your affiliation to sinaiem, complete the survey linked and enter the code. Press save changes.

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Once this is done, you will see that your affiliation has been changed to sinaiem    asyn 5

Step 3: Consuming blogs/podcasts

Consume media (at home, on the train, at the beach). To let the system know a certain media has been consumed, click the mark as consumed link.

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To have a resource considered consumed, you have to author 1-3 multiple choice questions about the resource, testing knowledge found in the  blog post/podcast. (if the resource is less than 15 mins -> 1 question, 15-30 mins -> 2 questions, more than 30 mins -> 3 questions). The first person to consume the resource will mark how long it took him/her to consume the resource, and this will be the amount of “asynchronous learning” time awarded for consuming that resource. The amount of inputted time is “honor code”, put a reasonable consumption time, this will be monitored.

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Once you’ve written required amount of questions, you will be notified that the resource has been consumed with this alert (upper right).

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You can tell which resources have been consumed by you because of a checkmark next to the box next to them. You can also up and down vote resources based on how much you liked/disliked them.

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Have a question about a particular blog post/podcast? Leave a comment in the comment section and a Sinai faculty member will reply and help clarify any misunderstandings. 

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Step 4: Trading in Asynchronous time for Conference Time

To cashing in your asynchronous learning time for conference time go to the menu on the  upper right and select “Asyn Learning”.

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You will see you asynchronous learning dashboard with stats on how much time you’ve accumulated, how many resource you’ve consumed, how many questions you’ve written. If you have 5 hours of asynchronous learning you can trade that time to miss a conference. If you have 2 hours of asynchronous learning you can trade to miss one pre-night shift conference. 

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Mark the date you want to miss, as well as if you’d like to trade in 5hrs or 2hrs (for pre-night shift conference) and click “Cash In”. It will send you, Kaush and the conference chief an e-mail. This e-mail will contain a code (bitly link) you’ll use in the conference attendance sheet to account for your time.  It will also have a list of the learning you did in lieu of conference.

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The e-mail sent to you, Kaush and the conference chief will look like this. Note the bitly URL. Also Put into your contact list to avoid the foambase e-mails getting sent to spam. 

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Copy past the link (bitly URL) you got in your e-mail into the conference sheet when documenting your conference attendance to account for your time away from conference.

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In your asynchronous learning dashboard, foambase will keep track of which conferences (with dates) that you’ve requested off.

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FOAM as Asynchronous Learning Platform



We are starting a project (currently in beta) to turn Foambase in an Individualized Interaction Instruction (III) compliant asynchronous learning platform. The goal is to improve the integration of FOAM into residency learning. We are testing the platform with Mount Sinai Residents.

We propose a different approach than has been previously undertaken:

  • Learner driven
    • Completely optional to residents.
    • Learners can choose to consume any resource available in Foambase.
  • Foambase automatically tracks and reports total learning time.
  • Once residents have 5 hours of Asynchronous Learning, they can “cash-in” to miss a conference day. There is a limit of 1 conference missed per quarter and 5 residents maximum can miss any one conference.
  • A FOAM resource will be considered consumed when the learner writes 3 multiple choice questions on the topic of the FOAMed resource. There is functionality for learners to answer multiple choice questions as well, although this will not be enabled initially.
  • Comments on Foambase will be monitored by EM Faculty to answer any questions learners have regarding the media they consume.

Check out a behind the scenes dev video:

There are many more details. We believe this satisfies the ACGME requirements for III:

  1. The program director must monitor resident participation  - All participants are tracked automatically in Foambase.
  2. There must be an evaluation component - Participant’s understanding of the material will be monitored via either authorship of multiple choice questions as well as, later, their answering multiple choice questions
  3. There must be faculty oversight - Faculty will be available via the comments section to answer any learner questions.
  4. The activity must be monitored for effectiveness - Via number of residents who choose to participate, surveys and later % correct answers to questions.

Foambase is Looking for Editors

Hi Folks,

Foambase is officially ready to invite editors to the project! This is your chance to get involved with foambase in it’s infancy. Being a founding editor means you can help shape the future of this project.

Editors will help curate content in the foambase database. Each editor will be in charge of one or more top level chapters. Choose a chapter that is in line with your professional interests and become the FOAM guru of that area.

Editors will:

  • Review, edit (meta-data only) and publish educational resources in their chapter
  • Categorize resources in the appropriate chapters/sub-chapters
  • Manage the chapter structure of their section
  • Ensure at least one story per week is published in their chapters.

These are the current top level chapters. Some have already been claimed.

Contact us if you are interested in joining the team.