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Medical Education

Growth of digital learning in Healthcare

Dr Bala talks about the current developments in digital learning in healthcare and also weighs in on what needs to change for the future.

Digital transformation has changed the way we interact with the world. The field of medical education has also changed with that. Today digital platforms are being used in healthcare to prepare healthcare professionals to manage both infectious and non-infectious conditions. So what have been some of these changes and how does it affect the field of learning.

To find answers to these questions we spoke to Dr. Balasubramanyam V (Dr. Bala), Multimedia Educationist: Medical E-learning Pioneer, Professor, and Head of Anatomy, St Johns Medical College Bangalore.

Dr Bala has over 69 research papers, 7 chapter contributions in books, co-author of one text bookand over 200 conference presentations in the field of:
o Medical and health care E learning
o Anatomical sciences

Dr Bala has also created a histology video channel on YouTube …called VBS HistoMed and has been honored by many awards. Dr Bala was also the medical director for an e-learning startup.

Here are some excerpts from the discussion.

Healthcare India: What is the growth and development that you have seen in the digital learning space in the last decade?

Dr Bala: There have been many new areas of growth in the digital learning space, the three main among them are

a.      Use of Learning Management Systems (LMS)

b.     Massive Open Online (MOOC)

c.      Gamification of the learning experience

Healthcare India: How has that changed the way healthcare is taught in medical colleges?

Dr. Bala: These are some of the changes that I have observed on how Healthcare is taught in

a.      Learning Management Systems gives the confidence of supervised and well mentored learning. 

b.     Massive Open Online (MOOC) courses  provide value added exposure for updating knowledge – specially recent advances.

c.      Interactive digital ecosystems offer the advantage of experimental and participatory learning. This is ideally suited for case studies.  

Healthcare India: What are the practical advantages of using digital learning platforms in healthcare?

Dr. Bala: Availability of authentic pre-validated information at the desired level of granularity at the point of care

Healthcare India: What are the recommendations towards education policy that you would recommend that can be done to take things forward?

Dr Bala: In my opinion the following steps are important

a.      Curricular content for healthcare courses needs to be developed, validated and recommended as authentic course material by universities.

b.     University supervised technology-based evaluation need to be introduced at appropriate levels. This will make the practical and bedside skill evaluation more focussed and objectives clearly defined. There is the scope of digital evaluation for nearly 40 % of the curriculum

In conclusion there is a lot of potential for digital learning in healthcare. Right from increasing access to education and delivering the right details at a granular level anytime, anywhere.

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