Web 2.0 Approaches for Active, Collaborative Learning in Medicine and Health

Web 2.0 Approaches for Active, Collaborative Learning in Medicine and Health

Eleni Kaldoudi, Stathis Konstantinidis, Panagiotis D. Bamidis
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-777-0.ch007
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In recent years, advances in information and communication technology and especially the Internet have acted as catalysts for significant developments in the sector of health care, having a strong impact in supporting medical diagnosis, enabling efficient and effective patient and healthcare management and reforming medical education. There is currently an international trend to involve computers and the Internet heavily in medical curricula, in continuing life-long medical learning, as well as in general health education of the public. However, effective technology-supported interventions are usually created when there is a successful alignment of the specific requirements with the potential end use of technology. And it is just such a juncture we are currently facing with the emergent paradigm of Web 2.0. This chapter elaborates on the potential of Web 2.0 for active and, potentially, effective learning in medicine and in health and reviews current practices and trends in the field. The discussion focuses on research directions and emerging applications that fully exploit the potential of Web. 2.0 for advancing medical education. Finally, the envisaged merit of merging with Web 3.0 technologies is also discussed.
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Current innovations in information systems and communication services mark the switch from an “information society”, characterized by mass information seeking and based on the distribution of pre-defined and standardized data, to a “knowledge society”, that is, a society based on knowledge as a value. This emphasizes the cognitive advancement and involvement of each individual. The growing use of Internet not only modifies quickly and habitually the way people work but it also leads the race in this educational revolution.

The penetration of technology and the Internet in medical education, and in education in general, created a new situation where the teacher as mediator to knowledge can often be bypassed while the individual strives for knowledge based on their own efforts and aided by the vast amount of information and educational activities presented in the Web. When new technologies where first introduced in education about two decades ago (although experimental attempts date back to 1970s), there was a considerable hype about the emerging electronic teacher, which fortunately soon enough subsided to reveal serious limitations of the computer-to-student education model (Dertouzos, 1997). The emerging Web 2.0 paradigm however is promising to bring about yet another new situation, where the conventional human mediator as well as the electronic mediator in the form of the Internet and the Web is replaced by virtual dynamic communities of peers that learn and advance together.

This chapter will elaborate on the potential of Web 2.0 for active and, potentially, effective learning in medicine and health and review current practices and emerging advances in the field, providing an indicative overview of various projects were Web 2.0 is used to support health and medical education. The chapter will also present some example emerging application areas where Web 2.0 is expected to find its full implementation by enabling new online educational experiences not previously possible to achieve, including full support of active learning, new ways of assessment and evaluation, content sharing educational communities and content repurposing in medical education.

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