1 University of Porto, Faculty of Medicine (PORTUGAL)
2 University of California at Irvine School of Medicine (UNITED STATES)
3 ALERT Life Sciences Computing SA (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 77-82
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Medical education is an area of increasing complexity due both to the escalating data achievement in Health Sciences and to the technology associated with programs of teaching/learning dedicated to the education of medical students and professionals. Successful medical learning requires a considerable time investment, and is now a matter of profound concern among educators and professionals.

In this context and taking into account the directives of education of health professionals for the XXI century, namely in undergraduate medical education, we aim to develop study management tools that are able to provide students with ways to achieve learning goals with optimized time investment.

A system that leverages web and mobile technologies has been devised - ALERT® STUDENT. We used Institution and Group entities to represent courses and classes. A Notebook entity was created to represent custom compositions of learning material, built using blocks named Flashcards that are grouped by Topic entities. Flashcards are split into Flashcard components that encode Knowledge and Questions. An online Study Mode and Quiz Mode were developed.

System usability and feature usefulness were assessed by 48 medical students who used the Study Mode, the Quiz Mode and Notebook info-graphic views during two sessions of one hour, to study a Notebook on molecular biology. At the end of each session students filled two online surveys. A survey on system usability and tool usefulness was applied in both sessions. Another survey regarding willingness to adopt the system as a reference tool was used in the last session. Student agreement to each item was assessed using a 4 grade Likert scale. Paired sample t-test was used to compare differences in the system usability and tool usefulness survey answers between the two sessions.

The platform allows study and assessment of knowledge using a learning-oriented environment providing tools to easily navigate content, highlight text, take notes, track study time and filter content based on user previous knowledge and defined objectives of the course. Collected data is displayed using different info-graphic views. The score for all items on the survey regarding system usability and tool usefulness showed means above 3 (partially agree) in both sessions. There were no significant differences between both sessions. Regarding the survey on willingness to adopt the system as a reference tool all items were approximately 3 (partially agree).

Both surveys have shown that students generally agreed that the tools provided were useful and simple and were willing to use them as a privileged element for their medical education.

The tools provided can be used to manage, plan and set study goals based on personal and peer performance evidence. Additionally, they may be beneficial to help students become better scientifically prepared and skilled clinicians in the future.
This application is an important step to help future physicians meet the challenges of information management and continuous learning, which constitute core competences for the physician of the XXI century.
Medical education, Information management, Memory retention, e-learning, Evidence-based learning, Tailored learning, Student-centered learning.