Blog | Monday, August 1, 2011

Using social media in medical education


Recently I gave a medical informatics grand rounds on the topic of Social Media in Medical Education. The overarching goal of the presentation was:
--to expose the audience to various examples of use of social media in education and
--to let them draw connections between some of the theories of learning (and knowledge) and these examples

The outline of the presentation:
--Get beyond the issues of professionalism. While a very important issue it should not scare students and physicians away for a potentially very useful and powerful medium for learning
--Brief overview of some theories of learning and knowledge. To make the point, I somewhat oversimplified these and took some editorial liberties with the descriptions. This was done keeping in mind the needs of the audience. Also this was not the focus of the topic. I was making the point that some of these create a good framework to help understand the role of social media in education.
--Differentiate social media and Web 2.0 from static, one-way media like print media.
--Types of Social Media: publishing, sharing, discussing, networking, location, commerce, etc.
--Reference to recent Talk of the Nation on NPR about the education of Net Generation.
--Examples of use of social media for education include:
----blogs: opportunities for conversations with thought leaders (George Siemens), place for personal reflection, and sharing those with society
----watching a Khan Academy video and summarizing it in a blog post
----Google+ example of deep and rich conversations with experts whom you would not normally be able to communicate with
----Twitter example of #meded chats and #twitjc journals clubs (reference to one on surgical checklists that had Atul Gawande participating, case discussions (Nick Bennett's #micro140)
----Hangout: examples of use can we use this as a model of office hours for professors (Stephen Downes)
----the web 2.0 learning cycle from Google Reader to blogs and social learning networks with examples of how interacting with people in these networks has generated rich discussions and new ideas.


(These slides were edited from a presentation at medical informatics grand rounds. The slide notes were added to substitute for the lack of an audio recording).

Conclusions:
--Our trainees grew up with online social media, this is how they collaborate, interact;
--When they enter the medical profession, they can leverage these skills to enhance their learning;
--While they need to be aware of how to be professional in this space, let us not scare them away from this potentially useful tool; and
--Our educators need to keep an open mind and personally experience this medium before passing judgment.

Neil Mehta MBBS, MS, FACP, practices internal medicine at a large tertiary care hospital in Ohio. He is also the Director of Education Technology (Academic Computing) for his medical school and in charge of his hospital system's home grown Learning and Content Management System. He is interested in use of technology in education, social media and networking, practice management and evidence-based medicine tools, personal information and knowledge management. This post originally appeared at Technology in (Medical) Education.