There is an increasing need for cost control and improved outcomes in both primary and secondary medical education. This chapter reviews the characteristics of medical learners, and summarizes shortcomings of traditional medical training that may be amenable to technological intervention. Technologies useful for educating medical students and practicing physicians will be described, along with examples pertaining to each technology. The chapter concludes with a summary of potential barriers to the adoption of medical education technology.
Key Terms in this Chapter
The “Brain-Drain” Phenomenon: Refers to emigration of healthcare professionals from impoverished to wealthier health-care systems.
Procedural Skills: Are those physician skills that require hands-on manipulation of the patient, such as physical examination, obstetrical delivery, or surgery.
Information Overload: Refers to the phenomenon in which the body of information to be mastered is too large to be assimilated by the student.
Just-in-Time Learning: Learning tools that attempt to offer knowledge at the point when the physician would most need it, often in the course of clinical care.
Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluation: Four potential levels of evaluation for training programs: user satisfaction, learning outcomes, performance improvement, and the result of the training on the process outcome.
Automated Flashcard Programs: Are computer programs that allow the user to quiz himself about terms and their definitions, onscreen. They are an excellent example of how computerized tools can improve the flexibility and efficiency of a classic learning tool.
The Constructivist School of Adult Learning: Suggests these learners may master the material most efficiently when allowed to navigate the material freely, according to their own curiosity.
Hyperlinked Text: Text on the screen that, when clicked, connects the learner to a different page with the related information.
Primary medical education: Describes the period in which the future physician builds a knowledge base de novo and learns to apply that knowledge effectively.
Secondary medical education: Refers to the ongoing efforts of a practicing physician to renew and update her knowledge and skills.
Simulation Tools: Learning tools in which a real-life situation is simulated using models or interactive computer programs.