Patient Activated Learning System (PALS)

The patient activated learning system is a publicly available resource designed to provide engaging, easily understood, well-researched facts for people who want to know more about health, medicines, and diseases. The PALS, which was architected by Monika Safford, M.D., draws on several established paradigms:

  • Adult Learning Theory – adult learners want focused information at the time they need it.
  • Social Cognitive Theory – humans learn by watching what others do.
  • Bartle’s Taxonomy – the multi-billion dollar online gaming industry uses 4 basic player types (achievers, “killers”, explorers, socializers) which are incorporated into the PALS.
  • Storytelling – because humans remember more in the context of a story.

The PALS uses Reusable Knowledge Objects (RKOs), which consist of a patient-derived question, a single learning objective, a well-researched answer translated into patient facing text at the 6th grade level, and an assessment question testing whether the learning objective has been met.

For more information, visit

General Internal Medicine

Monika Safford, M.D., Chief

Blake Rambo, J.D., M.B.A., Administrator
Tel: (646) 962-5900
Fax: (646) 962-0508




Related Links

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