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Preparing for the Changing Role of Instructional Technologies in Medical Education

Robin, Bernard R. PhD; McNeil, Sara G. EdD; Cook, David A. MD, MHPE; Agarwal, Kathryn L. MD; Singhal, Geeta R. MD, MEd

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31820dbee4
Faculty Development

As part of an international faculty development conference in February 2010, a working group of medical educators and physicians discussed the changing role of instructional technologies and made recommendations for supporting faculty in using these technologies in medical education. The resulting discussion highlighted ways technology is transforming the entire process of medical education and identified several converging trends that have implications for how medical educators might prepare for the next decade. These trends include the explosion of new information; all information, including both health knowledge and medical records, becoming digital; a new generation of learners; the emergence of new instructional technologies; and the accelerating rate of change, especially related to technology. The working group developed five recommendations that academic health leaders and policy makers may use as a starting point for dealing with the instructional technology challenges facing medical education over the next decade. These recommendations are (1) using technology to provide/support experiences for learners that are not otherwise possible—not as a replacement for, but as a supplement to, face-to-face experiences, (2) focusing on fundamental principles of teaching and learning rather than learning specific technologies in isolation, (3) allocating a variety of resources to support the appropriate use of instructional technologies, (4) supporting faculty members as they adopt new technologies, and (5) providing funding and leadership to enhance electronic infrastructure to facilitate sharing of resources and instructional ideas.

Author Information

Dr. Robin is associate professor of instructional technology, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and director, Master's of Education in Teaching Program With an Emphasis in the Health Sciences, College of Education, University of Houston, Houston, Texas.

Dr. McNeil is associate professor and program director of instructional technology, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, University of Houston, Houston, Texas.

Dr. Cook is professor of medicine and director, Office of Education Research, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota.

Dr. Agarwal is assistant professor of medicine, Section of Geriatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Dr. Singhal is assistant professor of pediatrics, Section of Emergency Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Robin, 256 Farish Hall, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5027; telephone: (713) 743-4952; e-mail:

First published online February 21, 2011

© 2011 Association of American Medical Colleges