Active Learning in Large Classes

The following article is a continuation of Active Learning – Remembering
In an active learning environment, formative assessment of learning is important because:
• it allows both the professor and the students to evaluate on a regular basis how they are progressing in achieving the class objectives
• both professor and students can adjust their activities based on the feedback they receive.
The images below represent how Dr. Kalyani Premkumar, an assistant professor in our College of Medicine answered the question, “How can my students and I best understand the nature, quality and progress of their learning?”* The class had over 80 undergraduate medical and dental students studying about the general characteristics of hormones. Dr. Premkumar wanted students to demonstrate their understanding of the classification system, she had just lectured on.
Before Class Began
Classification terms were printed, cut and sorted into piles.
Piles were placed in 10 envelopes with 4X4 cards that were printed with the major headings for the classification.
After The Lecture
Groups of five students were given an envelope
The whole room was engaged in learning.
Within 5 minutes, they had completed the sorting
Dr. Premkumar checked the results and provided feedback. Class debriefed with questions.
The question “How can my students and I best understand the nature, quality and progress of their learning?” comes from the book What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain

The More We Get Together

Connectivism is a new teaching theory about the importance of connecting students to people, places and ideas in order to improve their learning. In medical school, we traditionally achieve this by rotating students through a variety of clinical rotations. Ideally, students would be exposed to different specialists, different locations, and diverse patients. Most universities have standardized patients who represent a variety of cultural and medical issues in their communities.
Here at the University of Saskatchewan, we, also, have the Making the Links program, whereby selected undergraduate students experience community health and development in the contexts of rural/remote health in a northern Saskatchewan community, an urban underserved community in Saskatoon at SWITCH (the Student Wellness Initiative Towards Community Health), and in the Global South in Mozambique. Making the Links exposes students to the determinants of health and the importance of community in these various settings. Making the Links is the first step to becoming a socially accountable physician.

The Future

Dr. Rajakumar, a Saskatoon cardiologist has developed an electronic conferencing tool where families, patients and specialists located in diferent locations around the world can consult on difficult cases.
Medical Learning Objects stored in electronic repositories will make preparing learning resources easier.
Increasing use of online communication will make experts and research available to larger audiences. The image below represents the locations of the 819 people from all over the world, who read one of my other teaching blogs.
This article is a continuation of the teaching techniques series
Creating Meaningful Artifacts
Active Learning-Reflection
Active Learning-Making Meaning
Active Learning-Remembering

Techno Terror is here!

I chose the title Techno Terror is here! because biological terrorism seems to be a popular scenario for virtual games but also because of the fear many medical faculty have of venturing into technology as a teaching tool. So here are some examples of how NEW TECHNOLOGY is being used today in medical schools and among health providers.

Future Making Serious Games

Eliane Alhadeff has one of the best and most up to date blogs on gaming as an educational resources She regularly posts articles related to health simulations and activities.

Idaho Bioterrorism Awareness and Preparedness Program

Idaho University Institute of Rural Health This website provides an overview and some great videos of Idaho University’s Second Life site available for training/awareness about emergency preparedness. The picture below is from the virtual hospital.
University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have developed simulation games that train health officials to respond effectively to disasters and infectious disease outbreaks. This image represents a hospital library and meeting room.

Attending Medical School in Second Life

Article in the Student British Medical Journal

Why Games Matter: A Prescription for Improving Health and Health Care

Received 74 entries from 13 countries for their virtual health care competition. The winners were:
*Mobile Phone Games to create HIV/AIDS awareness in Asia and Africa. (India)
*Finding Zoe is a unique online video game that promotes the creation of healthy, equal, and non-violent relationships between girls and boys. (US)
*Reach Out! Central (ROC) is an online game that promotes positive youth mental health by adapting content from effective psychological intervention. (Australia)

A social networking site with a strong international community health focus, there are opportunities for collaboration on projects, competing for innovation awards and discussions

BiomedExperts launches

Bringing the right researches together and allowing them to grow their professional network is the ultimate goal of BiomedExperts (BME) – the first literature-based social networking platform, Collexis is providing BME free of charge for all researchers around the globe in an effort to increase collaborative biomedical research for the collective good.
BioMedExperts is a new online community that connects biomedical researchers to each other through the display and analysis of the networks of co-authors with whom each investigator works to publish scientific papers. The comprehensive system of pre-populated expert profiles, coupled with the ability to analyze all associated professional connections within the co-author network, allows scientists and researchers across organizations the ability to share data and collaborate in ways never before considered.

Social Bookmarking in Plain English

Social bookmarking has been listed as the #1 most useful technology for university professors. Why?
1. It helps you organize and refind links to articles, websites and videos.
2. It makes sharing links with students and colleagues on a website or blog easy. To see an example of this ability to share, open my other blog The Active Learning Blog Carnival, scroll down to My Delicious Tags and click on the blue links. The larger the link, the more articles are available.
To watch a video that explains Social Bookmarking in Plain English, click twice on the video below.

Unfortunately, the university blogs don’t allow me to incorporate this feature.

Medical Simulation

There is a lot of discussion at the University of Saskatchewan about the use of medical simulation in health science education. To understand the decisions being made in this area, you need to understand that there are four distinct categories of simulation:
1. Physical Simulators
2. Human Manipulated Physical Simulators
3. Virtual Simulators
4. Virtual Environment Simulators

Physical Simulators

Physical simulators are reusable mannequins that students practise skills on such as physical examinations, injections and other invasive treatments. Using this type of simulator provides initial practice when willing patients are in short supply or when practise could be invasive, unpleasant or painful to patients. Once the student has developed an acceptable level of skill, they complete their learning with human patients. Below you can see some examples of physical simulators manufactured by Kyoto Kagaku Co. Ltd., which were recently displayed at the university.
Simulations 001.jpg
Simulations 006.jpg

Human Manipulated Physical Simulators

A more sophisticated level of simulator is a full body mannequin that can be manipulated by a human operator located behind a two-way mirror. This type of simulator can answer questions, raise limbs as well as be examined/draped/treated. This provides students with a more holistic simulation in which they role-play interactions with the patient. The draw back here is a high initial cost as well as an ongoing expense of an operator.

Virtual Simulators

Virtual Simulators use 3D animation to teach parts of the body (Guide to a Healthy Heart) or to teach steps in a procedure (Sim Praxis video )
Costs to create these simulations can be very high, therefore, they are often purchased as CD’s with a textbook or accessed through sponsored online sites. See also The Visible Human

Virtual Environment Simulators

The Virtual Environment Simulators are computer-based medical scenarios that usually include a 3D model of a location, equipment, personnel and patients that students enter with an Avatar. They work well for “What if?” case studies such as disaster training, pandemic planning, problem solving and modeling of unusual diagnosis that students might not encounter in their clinical experience. Costs of initial production can be lowered by using already existing virtual worlds such as Second Life, a virtual world with a higher population than the prairies. Cost per student is frequently minimal.
The video below demonstrates how science is being taught in Second Life.

For more information, see:

Medical Modeling & Simulation
A Typology of Simulators for Medical Education
Clinical Skills Training in a Skills Lab Compared with Skills Training in Internships: Comparison of Skills Development Curricula
Emergency Medicine and Patient Simulation:Opportunities for Teaching, Evaluation, and Scholarship
Ethics Involved in Simulation-based Medical Planning
The Use of Simulation in Emergency Medicine: A Research Agenda
Simulation medicine in intensive care and coronary care education.
Simulation: The New Teaching Tool.
Simulation Technology in Physician Training (a podcast)
Simulation and the future of military medicine
Simulation and Modelling Applied to Medicine
Using Human Patient Simulation to instruct Emergency Medicine Residents in Cognitive Forcing Strategies
Value of a cognitive simulation in medicine: towards optimizing decision making performance of healthcare personnel.
Virtual reality simulation in carotid stenting: a new paradigm for procedural training
Anne Meyer Medical Centre Blog about the Second Life medical course
Top 10 Medical Sites in Second Life
A video about the Heart Murmur Sim in Second Life
A video about Virtual Social Worlds and the Future of Learning
A video about using Second Life for training.