I started this blog with the aim of recording my web 2.0 learning journey and also in the hope that I would find a community of people interested and participating in medical education. Today this bore some fruit as I participated at a distance in an online seminar about these topics.
The presentation by @ajcann, University of Leicester, reported on courses to help students develop skills in the use of web 2.0 and information literacy. The slides and document give a good summary of the findings. Students appeciated tools, like customised google searches and a Pageflakes page, that helped them find resources more quickly. But they did not use the social aspects of tools provided. There was not evidence of the formation of a community of practice.
There was no audio-visual streaming of the seminar, so I could only pick up on the talk in the room through the tweets of those present. You can find them here: #UOLTAN. I am sure that this means that I have missed out on a lot of valuable interaction and responses to the material presented. I commented that I was not surprised that medical students did not use social bookmarking because despite looking for the past few months I have only managed to find one doctor who uses social bookmarking to record sites that are cliically relevant. And if I was looking for information on how to manage stable COPD, see last night's post, my instinct would not be to start searching delicious to see what others in my network had saved.
So what does that tell me? Well, if clinicians are not yet using web 2.0 to help them with their day to day clinical work, is there any point in us worrying about whether or not sudents are interested in developing these skills? I don't mean that only 10% of GPs or hospital doctors are using social bookmarking and blogs to keep up to date. Or even that only 5% are. I doubt that even 1% are. Early adopters of web2.0 tools for clinical practice do not seem to exist yet.
One of the report conclusions reached was that "Students are reluctant to change their habits unless there is a clear tangible benefit to them. If we believe literacy skills are worth developing, we must make them a requirement not an added extra."
I think that before doing that we need to figure out if these tools actually deliver something that is useful to medical students and to doctors. What gap are they actually filling? Medical education can certainly be improved. But we need to describe the problems before we come up with the solutions.