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Would you want your doctor to be trained ala MOOC?

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Would you want your doctor to be trained ala MOOC?

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I looked yesterday at the general trends in how MOOCs are regarded in the workplace.  It was based upon a new study looking at perceptions of MOOCs for things such as professional development and even recruitment.  The general theme was that whilst MOOCs are great for showing an interest in ones professional development, and may be used increasingly by employers to that end, they are not comparable to more traditional means of certification.

Last year however, the British Medical Journal published an article postulating as to whether MOOCs might actually work better for medical education than some other, more traditional, forms.  The benefits touted in the article included the flexibility of MOOCs, together with their ability to get information out quickly and easily to a large audience, both of which are attractive traits for a busy medical student.  It also suggested that the lack of feedback and interaction with the course isn’t an issue (I know many MOOCs are trying to improve this), because medical students get plenty of that with patients anyway.

The article continued its optimistic bent, suggesting that it could also play an important role in preparing students for medical school.  Premed courses that are typically offered to students are often run along very similar lines to an average MOOC, so there would be little divergence in how the content is consumed.  Of course, as MOOC content is always available, they have that clear advantage over a one time lecture.

It’s a theme that Prakash Masand supports.  The Global Medical Education CEO said recently that MOOCs could provide a ready made solution to the shortage of skills in the helathcare industry.  He bemoaned the fact that 90% of psychiatric care is currently handled by non-pschiatric professionals, who often do so with only basic training through the course of their medical education, thus resulting in a significant amount of misdiagnosis of mental health conditions.

It’s certainly an interesting topic.  Alas, the study mentioned at the outset bursts the bubble a little bit, as just 33% of the companies studied had even heard of MOOCs, with the healthcare companies in the study amongst the least aware industries.  Whilst there are some optimistic outliers therefore, I foresee that there is still some way to go.

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