Empowering medical teachers


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Empowering medical teachers

  1. 1. EMPOWERING MEDICAL TEACHING IN INDIA Dr.T.V.Rao MD We Medical teachers live in a period of transition fromtraditional, didactic teaching methods to the empowering of e-learning technologies. Senior Professors still continue to be indemand as the age of retirement is increased to 7o years. TheMedical Council of India currently (2011) fully recognizes 335, with atotal capacity to train 40, 525 Indian medical students. Teachersshould be aware in future we are going to have many studentstechnologically oriented and even at +2, having learnt schedulescreated as e-learning in CBSE syllabus. They are going to have asquare one situation when they find a traditional teacher with chalkand board. However the e-education in Medicine is difficult and notpossible to implement in several situations. The e-learning in Medicaleducation is with several defects never understood in detail andcontinues to be controversial. It is valid to understand some of theteachers view point, as E-learning is too often driven by thetechnology and not the learner and the learning. As new technologybecome available and is used for educational purposes, educatorsoften take existing training and simply transcribe it into the newtechnological medium. This puts the technology at the forefront,driving the learning, rather than being subservient to it. However theteachers in developing countries cannot totally discard the moderneducation methods, with proliferation of Internet and Broad band, asthe students are free to access to any content even the best in theworld. Technology is there to serve the learner and the learning.Therefore, one needs to think of the learning outcomes, and onlythen consider to use technology, and if technology can be useful,then what technology and how best to use it. Making technology
  2. 2. enhanced learning (TEL) effective. Many times we are teachingcontent of outdated medicine, if you observe the Post graduates inseveral centres of excellence the discussions are cutting edge withstudents too making the best contributions. Many times technologycan be a very powerful tool in achieving these learning outcomes,but only if it is used correctly. The many wonderful and excitingopportunities that technology offers are also full of pitfalls. Torespond to these challenges, technology must be learner friendly.TEL must support the cognitive architecture of the learners, forexample, providing appropriate mental representations and correctlyconsidering cognitive load. When we consider how to use technologyto enhance learning in general, and in medical training specifically,we need to think if and how it can help to better engage thecognitive system. We have several younger generations of Medicalteachers coming with solutions with technology and certain toincrease the gap between senior and junior competent teachers.Indian basic Medical degree MBBS students lack basic skills inpractice of Medicine many are unfamiliar with simple procedureseven delivering a normal child, and safe, simple emergency lifesavingprocedures. Many upcoming new Medical institutes have feweffective teachers, and many clinicians are private practice orientedand students are left to their choice in learning, which many may notagree and never think of any solution to the existing problem as thedefects in system will be exposed. Our teaching in real time clinicaltraining is a failure in the present system in many Medical Colleges asthe Medical profession is becoming a matter of private practice; fewserious patients reach the teaching Hospitals. Medical simulations,virtual patients, are vital tools in medical training. Patients in realpractice do not always present the best training examples, and evenwhen good learning examples are presented by real patients, patientcare is the main focus and objective. Medical simulations allow for
  3. 3. the selection of the most effective clinical cases and for learning-centric training. Simulations also allow students to explore, testactions, and observe their effects, which is important for learning butwould be inappropriate on real patients. Training in the clinicalenvironment therefore takes a secondary role and is pursued only asmuch as it does not hamper patient safety and care. Videos arewidely used in the medical domain. They enable the capture ofimportant learning opportunities that may not present themselvesduring clinical cases. Making videos interactive engages the learnersand actively involves them with the material presented in the video,so they pay attention and focus on the learning. The interactions inthe video are intended to challenge the viewers and make themcognitively effective. With mass production of MBBS doctors and fewskilled teachers is going to hamper the performance of basicgraduates and India’s vision to serve the common man for basichealth will be lost if necessary corrective steps are not executed. TheGoal of Medical Education, and the ultimate aim of the MBBSprogram is not only to enable medical graduates acquirecompetencies related to knowledge, skill and attitude required of amedical graduate on completion of undergraduate medicaleducation but also to provide sufficient opportunity to them tobecome familiar with the knowhow of medical informatics thatwould ultimately help them work efficiently. E-learning has thepotential to enhance both the students and teachers educationalexperience. In addition, students have the ability to review thematerial to the degree they feel necessary. Collaboration In its effortto create the most desired medical education network, it seeks tocollaborate with various partners – universities, professional bodies,pharmaceutical companies. We teachers cannot escape fromcomputers and emerging trends in technology for long time, if wewish to survive in profession with competence and dignity.
  4. 4. Dr.T.V.Rao MDProfessor of Microbiology,Travancore Medical College,Kollam – KeralaEmaildoctortvrao@gmail.com