Anshu, P Bansal, SG Mennin, WP Burdick, T Singh
Education for health, 2008
"CONTEXT: India has the highest number of medical schools in the world. Teacher shortages and inadequate training of existing faculty are a major problem. On-line faculty development and learning is a plausible component of developing medical teachers in the essentials of pedagogy.
METHODS: An on-line faculty development learning process utilized by Regional Institute Fellows of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) is described. This faculty development program begins with a face-to-face meeting followed by an 11-month intersession on-line experience, then another face-to-face meeting and a second 11-month intersession on-line experience. During each on-line session, Fellows participate in discussions on topics which they identify based on their learning needs. The on-line program is highly interactive and Fellows and faculty serve as moderators. Discussions have a conversational tone and a semi-structured format which Fellows develop along with the faculty moderator. The participants share their personal and professional experiences and the moderator 'wraps up' with a summary of the learning posted at the end of the month. Faculty facilitate the discussion, sharing appropriate resources and clarifying issues when necessary.
CONCLUSIONS: More than the content exchanged, the interpersonal learning environment facilitated effective learning, and rejuvenated the learning experiences and network established during the face-to-face sessions. In view of its cost-effectiveness and the flexible choices it offers, focused, moderated, interactive on-line faculty development and learning needs to be considered seriously as a medium offering opportunities to medical educators and other professionals."