INNOVATING A PATIENT-CENTERED PARTNERSHIP OF PRACTICE IN MEDICAL EDUCATION: AN INTERACTIVE CASE-BASED ONLINE NETWORK (ICON)
A. Nathoo, P. Goldhoff, R. Leffert, J. Quattrochi.
1. Francis Weld Peabody Society
2. Lab. for Cell. and Mol. Neurosci., Harvard Med. Sch., Boston, MA, USA

Abstract

This study sought to assess the introduction of an interactive, web-based innovation that complements a traditional problem-based learning curriculum in neuroscience. Utilizing the case method as its fundamental educational approach, the Interactive Case-Based Online Network (ICON) enables students to learn with each other and with virtual patients in an online environment. Given the few available metrics to assess novel technologies, we sought to examine utilization of the ICON system by students and faculty during small group tutorials (n=16 students) over two years as part of the Human Nervous System and Behavior (HNSB) course at the Harvard Medical School. Each student spent 3.2 0.8 hrs (mean SD) per week outside of tutorial sessions engaged in the online learning process (ICON) and accessed the system 9.5 3.5 times per week in addition to the weekly 6 hrs of required tutorial. Students found that ICON enhances their learning of neuroscience through: 1) Facilitation and urgency of real time information transfer; 2) Establishment of longitudinal relationships with faculty, physician scientist experts, and patients; 3) Increased accountability to the tutorial group; and 4) Asynchronous online discussion allowing students to study at their own pace. While perceptions are important in gauging innovation, monitoring actual usage of the technology provides stronger evidence for its utility in the learning process. In this way, ICON creates a multidimensional framework allowing a community of people to interact with each other while assimilating educational content. We propose that problem-based learning methods benefit from enhanced collaboration outside the classroom.
Support Contributed By: Harvard Provost Award, Francis Weld Peabody Society, and the Harvard Medical School