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E learning in medicine - Need for Change


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E learning in medicine - Need for Change

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E learning in medicine - Need for Change

  1. 1. E-learning in Medicine –Need for Change Dr.T.V.Rao MD Traditionally, medical education had itsfoundation in combination of didactic instruction in theclassroom and integrated, hands-on "Socratic Method" oflearning in the clinical setting. The Indian Medical Councilemphasizes in the use of problem-based learningdiscussions (PBLDs) in an effort to integrate basic scienceknowledge, and clinical decision making with a goal of teachingcritical decision making skills to new generation physicians andother health care providers. Access to the right knowledge atthe right time is a major factor for an effective and efficienthealth care system over the course of time, many modalitiesand theories about learning have been elucidated with varyingdegrees of effectiveness. With an increasing proliferation ofInternet and affordability of computers in and out of theclassroom and the development of more sophisticated web-based tools, knowledge transfer is increasing and going high-tech. Effective knowledge transfer is of paramount importancefor the maintenance and advancement of our health caresystem which is lacking when compared with developedcountries. In any discipline, effective knowledge transfersconsists of delivery of factual knowledge about the topic andexposure to tools and thinking processes required to makecritical decisions about the information at hand. We arepractising teaching by didactic methods for several decades.One of the problems with traditional didactic lectures is thatthey often present information that targets one of the manylearning style of the students involved. Now it is open fact thatmany new medical colleges lack required qualified andexperienced teachers. In addition, the time and resourcesrequired to deliver the material is high and often does not
  2. 2. completely meet the needs of those who practice in future. Webbased learning has several options to suit the individual needsas we have complex group of students There are numerousmodalities available to develop and deliver content over theweb. Many of the tools and techniques available fall under thegeneral heading of Web 2.0 technology. In the past manyearly web pages were static and required a fair amount ofinteraction with computer to get the desired content. With newand improved technology, and proliferation of broad band, theweb has become much more dynamic allowing for targeteddelivery of information as well as an increased amount ofinteractivity on the part of the user. The harnessing of computertechnology, more specifically web-based tools open the doorfor collaboration amongst both students and teachers. Theability to utilise the expertise and time of numerous educatorshas the potential to lead to an ever evolving knowledge basethat can change to meet the needs of the students. By usingweb-based tools, we are no longer constrained to a given timeor location to deliver information and interact with students on agiven topic. Several students miss the classes for variousreasons; the online content can definitely bring to close the gapin learning. The ability to engage many facets of astudent using multimedia material has the added advantage ofcovering the many learning styles present in the diversestudent population in the medical fields. The use of multimediacoupled with the tracking of effectiveness and collaboration ofboth students and faculty leads to a platform that continues toevolve in both effectiveness and efficiency. Of the manylearning platforms available on WWW, one platform thatharnesses the ability to deliver knowledge to students as wellas collect information about the helpfulness of this informationis the web-based Moodle e-learning platform, which isrelatively user friendly, yet powerful enough to support a full
  3. 3. blown advanced level course as well as to integrate within theclinical learning framework of medical education. Moodle is aCourse Management System (CMS), also known as a LearningManagement System (LMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment(VLE). It is a free web application that educators can use tocreate effective online learning sites. LMS are of courseavailable both as commercial software and under open sourcelicenses. Anyone who wants to use Moodle should have noconcerns over support. There is comprehensive onlinedocumentation, a highly active community and if required,many professional support providers. The development ofsophisticated, web-based learning platforms that are easy touse from a student and a teacher prospective, medicaleducation is beginning to embrace a new modality ofknowledge transfer. Web-based, multimedia learning platformsbring about numerous possibilities not easily met withtraditional didactic instruction, however, many of the studieslooking to e-learning as a replacement for more traditionalclassroom education have not shown a significantimprovement. Even without a clear demonstration that e-learning is superior to traditional lectures; the use of onlinelearning provides solutions that can overcome some problemswith traditional education, especially in the area of medicinewhen we lack qualified and experienced teachers We are justbeginning to harness the power of the internet for the deliveryand management of medical education. With the phenomenalchanges in educational and information technology, the role ofteacher has undergone dramatic changes. He/she is expectedto possess skills and abilities to plan the curriculum changingdisease pattern, make rational use of the media technology anddesign an assessment strategy how we evolve methods to trainour students to the changing needs. Every type of specialityhas demanding patients who are technology savvy and everyPhysician should be familiar with changing scenario andefficient transfer of knowledge is one of the most important partof the health care system in maintaining and increasing the
  4. 4. quality of medical care alongside significant developments inthe areas of technology, therapy and new forms of