“Paging Dr Google, could Dr Google bring the lecture notes to surgery”

Terry Judd and Kristine Elliott from the University of Melbourne surveyed graduate medical students and found they share study resources, using email, Facebook, Twitter and other channels to circulate/consume learning materials an average three times a week (British Journal of Educational Technology).  “If students’ real resource sharing behaviours mirror their self-reported ones then it suggests a very strong social element to their knowledge sharing and study practises,” they suggest.

This has all sorts of implications for medicine teachers; not least that students consuming a bunch of content outside their formal learning management system may be working harder than the official consumption stats show.

But as well as how much they share knowledge, where they find it interests Dr Judd and Aspro Elliott who also surveyed students and looked at logs from a med school learning platform, publishing a separate study in JMIR Medical Education.

They found students access resources, mainly lecture notes, on their university’s learning platform “slightly more” than other e-resources, Google and Wikipedia being the leaders. This is good, although the “slightly more” must be a worry. As Judd and Elliott point out students rate GooWiki “significantly lower than the learning platform for quality and reliability.”

All this has implications for the “additional demands and costs associated with the production and delivery of quality online learning materials,” which are justified by student demand and resulting learning analytics. But LA does not record students off-platform use of sites such as Google, Wikipedia and “increasingly social media” for sharing information and resources.


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