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Improving Medical Education with e-learning Resources

Dr.T.V.Rao MD
We are interested in improving the quality of the Medical education, and our
performance as teachers and prepare the students for the future needs of the health system is
possible with innovations and equally well performing students. We all know India is going to rapid
expansion of the Medical infrastructure however it cannot improve without the support of the well-
trained doctors. In the face of severe faculty shortages in resource-constrained countries, medical
schools and colleges look to e- learning for improved access to medical education. Although reasons
for investing in e-learning varied, expanded access to education was at the core of e-learning
implementation which included providing supplementary tools to support faculty in their teaching,
expanding the pool of faculty by connecting to partner and/or community teaching sites, and sharing
of digital resources for use by students. E learning in medical education takes many forms, Blended
learning approaches were the most common methodology presented of which computer-assisted
learning comprised the majority. A major challenge to train increasing numbers of medical students,
while preserving the quality of their training, is the shortages of faculty, in most medical colleges,
many teachers exist on paper, Many Indian Medical Colleges are increasing the number of MBBS
seats per year and many times adding students without adding much resources, I don't blame the
managements entirely there is lack trained teachers who just exist on paper, and have their rules to
avoid work encouraged by MCI needs, contribute little to the development of the Institutes. With
political challenges and vision to improve the Medical services available to the people in remotest
areas, in many low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) there exists a shortage of faculty,
exacerbated by the need to increase medical doctor graduation rates. Our vision to be in many
instances, large well-established medical colleges, is expected to provide or share faculty with newly
created medical colleges. In such cases, e- learning provides an opportunity to extend faculty
availability to new medical colleges, and reach distant students. Many peer reviewed searches
indicate India is one of the countries progressed in the use of modern resources, and reviewed the
extent the e-resources (Kalita et al.) to which students at their institution in India utilized computer-
based literature searches to supplement teaching of evidence-based medicine. In a survey of 194
undergraduate and post-graduate students 89% stated that they used computer-based literature
searches at least once per month to either prepare presentations (90.2%), carry out research (65%),
or to research patient-related problems (60.3%) (Kalita J, Misra UK, Kumar G): However, the delivery
of medical education is evolving. New styles of teaching, such as problem-based learning, are being
used around the world and at all levels of medical education. Students are using blogs, cellular
telephones, e-mails, personal digital assistants, twitter, and Wikis to communicate instantly and
efficiently with peers and professors. Medical students also offer each other advice on student Web
site. Today many students use the resources on their own and majority are aware great variety of
methods ranging from digital libraries to more complex distance learning networks, multimedia
software, learning management systems, virtual simulations, mobile applications and other e-
resources, are being used. Studies suggest that e learning may be effective for increasing capacity in
rural settings even if the Medical colleges are established with lesser infrastructure and few
committed faculty. I am certain that e-learning is becoming haphazard in many developing
countries as there is no peer-reviewed content or organized needed material is not established.
Although there is cautious optimism about e-learning, more experience will be forthcoming and
more analysis is warranted especially around policy-related issues that surface through an
institutional e-learning implementation. Policy-related issues include, but are not limited to,
information and communications technologies such as network security, bandwidth and storage
solutions. There is a further need for policies in relation to content and knowledge management of
e-learning artefacts involving considerations around copyright and intellectual property as well as
accessibility. Educators and institutions must identify appropriate e-learning tools for use in
resource-constrained settings, analyse the effect of these modalities in decreasing the already
constrained faculty time, understand the practicality and cost-effectiveness of e-learning use in
resource constrained countries, and develop financial models for the sustainability of e-learning
solutions. Only when the appropriateness, feasibility and true costs of e-learning tools and
methodologies are understood in the context of LMICs, can their impact upon the health of country
populations be realized. As medical educators, how can we harness this new technology to stay in
tune with students? How can we use the technology to our benefit? The Problem with many
teachers in India unlike even many developing African countries, many teacher particularly senior
teachers are averse to the changing technological tolls which has to be address at many levels, if one
accepts or refuses the new tools in education as Electronic modes of education will become more
widely used with time, perhaps becoming a standard way of educating medical students and other
healthcare providers in the future. As a result, medical educators need to become familiar with the
various ways education and other everyday practices may be delivered electronically. It is important
for medical educators to embrace technology as a valuable resource at our disposal to positively
impact students and residents. Whatever the way that you choose to use electronic media, learning
can be enjoyable and efficient if a system that works is implemented. It is a topmost priority to
encourage all medical educators to become familiar with newer ways of teaching using electronic
media The new government must address these issues taking realities of the Medical education as
we have real shortage of committed teaching staff with rapid expansion of medical colleges, I wish
Medical Council of India should look into the ground realities and students interests, a priority to
develop and organize the e-learning resources or else we will be adding non performing Graduates I
wish my good friends contribute their vision on this matter, as I wish to represent the matter to
University Grants Commission HRD Ministry and Medical Council of India for betterment of the
Medical education which is a high priority to the Nation.
Ref E-learning in medical education in resource constrained low- and middle-income countries
Seble Frehywot etal (human resources for Human Health)
Dr.T.V.Rao MD Professor of Microbiology Travancore Medical College, Kollam India.
Email doctortvrao@gmail.com