By Sufian Suderman
With the start of school in August, LKCMedicine’s much talked about technology-enhanced learning pedagogy has finally gone ‘live’. This marks a significant moment in Singapore’s medical education landscape as LKCMedicine is the first institution to make extensive use of technology and eLearning to support its curriculum delivery.
Specially developed to support LKCMedicine’s pedagogy, the LKCMedicine Online Ecosystem consists of iLKC, iLAMs, iLecture and iFolio. These applications have been designed to work seamlessly with one other, and are anchored by world-class hardware infrastructure that allows for learning anywhere and anytime.
Says Vice-Dean (Education) Associate Professor Naomi Low-Beer, “To have our eLearning system up and running well is validation of the tremendous effort our teams have put in to ensure we deliver an innovative and world class medical education to our students. Our aim is to produce doctors who are able to leverage on technology to treat patients better and this is an important first step for them.”
Director of eLearning & IT Services Paul Gagnon agrees. “Going ‘live’ is an affirmation of the vision we had that we can have an integrated mobile learning experience supported by mobile technologies and delivered on an iPad. We may not have landed the man on the moon, but we have sailed around the world!”
So what’s in the LKCMedicine Online Ecosystem?
Mapping the appropriate learning resources to the desired learning outcomes, iLKC allows faculty and students to monitor learning progress in real-time. More importantly, it provides students with a blueprint of what they are going to learn, when they are going to learn and how they are going to experience such learning.
iLKC is supported by the iHub framework, the landing point for students to access their learning materials and to obtain general student support. iHub manages the learning outcomes for students throughout their course of study, in addition to displaying their timetables. One of the key features of iHub is Student Voice, where students can provide feedback, be it their thoughts about their Team-Based Learning (TBL) session or even about food options available on campus!
At LKCMedicine, learning tasks are managed and delivered via iLAMS, a visual authoring environment for creating sequences of learning activities. Learning tasks are designed to work with LKCMedicine’s unique pedagogy, with each task consisting of topics tagged to a set of learning outcomes. iLAMS is also where students do the various components of TBL, such as Individual Readiness Assurance (IRA), Team Readiness Assurance (TRA) as well as Application Exercises (AE).
Another key component of our eLearning resource is iLecture, a platform that facilitates seamless delivery of multimedia content. All of the audio and video content required of the five-year MBBS course at LKCMedicine will be found here. Each module block on iLecture is preceded by a video of a clinical lead explaining the local clinical context and also highlights the key learning points of that particular module.
Designed to work in untethered locations so as not to disrupt their learning experience, iLecture gives students access to their learning materials 24/7/365. Students first download the learning materials on their iPads, which then allows them to view the content at locations without stable WiFi access such as on buses and trains.
iFolio is an ePortfolio system which allows students to track their learning during their time at LKCMedicine. Here, they can create blog posts, make notes, upload videos and share these materials with their peers. Leads may also use this to design assessments that leverage on the sharing function of iFolio, such as designing an assessment where students take photos and write their reflections of their hospital and clinical attachments.
Besides the sharing of content, iFolio also supports communication between content experts and students, with both parties able to exchange feedback and address any questions which may arise efficiently.
An Intuitive Learning Experience
“The content of LKCMedicine’s Learning Online Ecosystem is of the highest quality and covers the learning outcomes of the entire programme.” says Imperial College London’s Head of Learning Resources, Dr Mike Barrett. He adds, “The content has been developed collaboratively by experts at Imperial and LKCMedicine, and has undergone stringent quality assurance checks. It was also reviewed by Year 1 Imperial students in London who gave really positive feedback on the detail and clarity.”
Likewise, the reactions of staff and students here point to the Ecosystem being a resounding success.
First-year student Chew Yi Rong says, “Compared to conventional lectures where we may miss out on something if we have a sudden lapse of attention, I can pause and rewind my lectures and also refer to relevant resources while listening to my pre-recorded lectures on my iPad. This allows me to study at my own pace.”
From left to right: Learning on the go, Using the iPads during TBL sessions. (Credit: NTULINK)
Senior Assistant Director and Head of Educational Development and TBL Facilitation Dr Preman Rajalingman notes, “The Ecosystem makes available question analytics and student performance data in real-time which allows facilitators and content experts to monitor which stage of the learning process students are at. This is important as it allows us to make immediate decisions on how to direct the lesson flow.”
Says Associate Professor Wong Teck Yee, Assistant Dean (Family Medicine) and Lead for Patient Centred Care, “What I found interesting was how the eLearning applications are designed in such a way that encourages the sharing of information among students and the faculty. This definitely enables me as an educator to develop better teamwork and communication skills in students early on in their medical career.”
With LKCMedicine’s eLearning and IT team not resting on their laurels and working tirelessly to make the eLearning experience an even better one, we can’t wait to find out what’s in store in the future!