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Modern technology has changed the structure of the entire medical field. The medical field has always brought together the best and brightest of society to help those in need. From treating cancer and delivering babies to dealing with heart attacks, doctors have at their hands today, developed technology and improved techniques. Technology has indeed revolutionized medical education too by permeating every corner of our academic medical lives[1, 2]. Computer technology is being integrated into medical education as an effective tool for teaching, learning, plus allowing access to a wider variety and greater quantity of ever increasing information and research. However, educational leaders play an essential role in incorporating this new technology into medical education in order to maximize the efficacy of this integration and improve the quality of medical education as well as training informed and efficient physicians for twenty-first century.
In today’s world, use of Internet has become indispensable. Medical students have much to gain from the Internet technology that has revolutionized the medical field. E-learning is the use of internet to enhance knowledge and performance. E-learning technologies offer learners control over content, learning sequence, pace of learning, time, and often media, allowing them to tailor their experiences to meet their personal learning objectives. E-learning appears to be at least as effective as traditional instructor-led methods such as lectures. With the advent of online courses, learners all over the world can access the content they desire and sign up for courses which interest them. The ability to provide instruction through the Internet has improved access for health care students in a variety of locations and situations. Students and practicing health care professionals without access to a campus location, such as those in rural locations, have the ability to receive training online even across large distances. Also, online education can cater to a variety of life situations, including students that work fulltime during the day and those with children that lack child care.
Visual and Tactile Learning
The availability of 3D images of human anatomy will make the spatial relationships of tissues, organs, vessels, and bone easier to view and comprehend [3, 4]. 3D images combined with tactile feedback (haptic) devices will allow students to practice motor skills without using cadavers and surgeons to operate with greater precision . Eventually, it may be possible to record what a surgeon sees and feels, so that students can learn not just by watching, but by reliving the experience.
The Scope of Technology
Assuming that a computer-based learning intervention is well designed, it can have a number of advantages, including distance-independence, flexible scheduling, the creation of reusable learning materials that are easily shared and updated and the ability to individualize instruction through adaptive instruction technologies.
There are concerns that computer-based learning can detract from building team-based working skills, that on-line facilitators are not able to respond as quickly or adequately to student needs and that instructional design may often be compromised in order to use educational technology for technology’s sake.
There are some concerns, however:
- Cost being the greatest concern, it cannot be implied everywhere especially if the infrastructure doesn’t support it.
- While some faculty members are really enthusiastic about evolving methods of instruction, others feel more comfortable with traditional teaching styles and may be reluctant to change. This also introduces a challenge for institution leaders.
- Some educators and administrators are concerned that the rapid access to specific facts through the Internet reduces the amount of foundational knowledge that students receive in certain subjects.
Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD
- Duffy M. The internet as a research and dissemination resource. Health Promot Int. 2000;15:349–53.
- The Impact of E-Learning in Medical Education Jorge G. Ruiz, MD, Michael J. Mintzer, MD, and Rosanne M. Leipzig, MD, Phd