How medical education can benefit from the wave of e-learning.

In last two decades, there is a revolution in information technology. E-learning is one of the modes in which education is imparted. Medical education is also using this technology. E-learning through technology is a tool itself for deeper learning, and learning that is beyond the four walls of the classroom.

E-learning is a learning system based on formalized teaching of students with the help of electronic devices such as computers, I pads and various internet forms. Computers are increasingly used in medical education. Electronic learning (e-learning is moving from textbooks in electronic format (that are increasingly enhanced by the use of multimedia adjuncts) to a truly interactive medium that can be delivered to meet the educational needs of students and postgraduate learners. Computer technology can present reliable reusable content in a format that is convenient to the learner. It can be used to transcend geographical boundaries and time zones. It is a valuable tool to be used by medical teachers. But it must be used appropriately. Knowledge and delivery of education is made to a large number of people at the same time or different time.

Before the birth of internet, multimedia learning was used as a medium to communicate information in the form of text,graphics, animation, audio, or video to produce content to engage students in curriculum. Cognitive theory plays an important role in multimedia learning because it emphasis on information- processing i.e. how individuals learn from words and pictures.Teaching and learning are more desirable in multimedia e- learning as it promotes learning delivery and learning enhancement among the individuals.It is easier to update electronic content rather than update printed content and allows the learner to revise the content quickly.Due to the advancement of the educational technologies and internet, the availability of the number of e-learning resources has increased and digital libraries have managed to access e-learning materials.

There are different modes of e-learning, which includes distance learning which enables students in different countries to get graduate and post graduate degrees without any need to attend lectures in person. It includes online tutorials, PowerPoint presentation lectures, case-based learning, and web links and study materials are acquired through digital libraries, repositories, portals, and search engines.

Tele-education represents, health education on distance using of Information Communication. Technology uses electronic libraries data bases or electronic data with data basis of knowledge. E-learning (distance learning) as a part of tele-education has gained popularity in the past decade. However its use is highly variable among the medical schools. It appears more common in basic science courses than in clinical education. E-learning does not preclude traditional learning processes. In fact, it is used frequently in conjunction with in person classroom or professional training, procedures and practices. Tele education has been used mostly in bio-Medical education as a blended method which combines tele-education technology with traditional instructor led training. An example is a lecture or demonstration is supplemented by an online tutorial. E-learning is also used for self-education tests, services and for examination in medicine. The working in the exercise mode with image files and questions is a good way of self-education. Automated tracking and reporting of learners activities lesson faculty administrative burden. Moreover, e-learning can be designed to include outcomes assessment to determine whether learning has occurred.

In a day today practice, electronic medium is used extensively. It covers different areas like electronic health, tele-health (e-health), telematics, and telemedicine. It will be quite useful for the students to prepare themselves to use these tools when they start practising. Online Learning helps in increasing educational efficiency by accelerating the rate of learning; making effective use of teacher time and reducing the cost related to program delivery.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are the new trends in the 21st century.  Students cannot retain much if they rely only on textbook and notes but should also be involved in practical learning that will increase their thought process and memory. Because of which Virtual reality and augmented reality are beneficial, these technologies make education more fun and interesting and helps students to retain the information more efficiently. This approach should be enhanced in the coming future to make education more of learning rather than just rely on books.

In medical education, e-learning is a means to an end rather than end itself. E-learning can result in greater educational opportunities for students while at the same time intensify faculty efficacy and effectiveness. The advancement of e-learning has led to the revolution in education, enabling individual learning (adaptive learning), and improving learners interactions with others (collaborative learning), and performing the role of the instructor. Integration of e-learning and medical education facilitates the learners with an opportunity to have a control over the content, applying different learning styles.

Dr. PM Bhujang is currently Medical Director with Sir HurkisondasNurrotumdas Hospital & Research Centre in Mumbai, India, for the past 10 years.

He holds professional degrees in Medicine (Karnataka University) andLaw (University of Mumbai), a diploma in Psychological Sciences, Hospital Administration, Industrial Management Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, Total Quality management, Naturopathy, and Financial Management.  He is post graduate in Criminology and Forensic Science, Geriatric Medicine and Medical Law and Ethics.  Dr. Bhujang had the opportunity to work for 5 years as a Medical Officer in a Clinic in Sultanate of Oman from November 1980 to June 1985. His residency was in K.E.M hospital, Nair Hospital, Bhagwati Hospital, Cooper Hospital and M.C.G.M hospital in Mumbai from 1974 to 1979


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