Social Media & Health Professions Education

I teach health informatics in graduate school. In my course, I ask students to document their assignments in a student blog and tweet the links weekly. I am hoping that this will get students started on establishing personal learning networks online.

In a recent publication by Keenan et al, though UK medical educators consider social media to be educationally viable, barriers exist that prevent practical use of social media in teaching. These include social media distracting students from learning, blurring of teacher-student boundaries, concerns with perceptions of other faculty or lack of recognition for use of social media in teaching.

I find though, having co-founded the #HealthXPH tweet chat some years back, that more and more Filipino physicians, nurses, pharmacists and medical students are actively participating on Twitter.

… clinician educators should facilitate the transition of social media in healthcare into a valid, recognised element of professional practice, working with learners to ensure that we realise the potential to facilitate learning. And in doing so, the tricky task of today’s clinical educators may be helped by coproduction and colearning with their generation of students: a real change from traditional pedagogy.

Hillman T, Sherbino J.
Social media in medical education: a new pedagogical paradigm?
Postgraduate Medical Journal 2015;91:544-545.

I chaired the college committee that laid down the social media guidelines for our medical school. We sought to encourage the professional use of social media, though this topic is not yet formally included in our medical curriculum. Could it be the lack of research evidence to support its use?

A lack of established metrics within the field, compounded by logistical difficulties in collecting certain data (e.g., who is using what tools, and how), presents challenges to research. As such, there are limited data from rigorous program evaluations supporting the theoretical, and anecdotal, advantages of social media in medical education.

Davis WM, Ho K, Last J. Advancing social media in medical education. CMAJ. 2015;187(8):549–550. doi:10.1503/cmaj.141417

Tomorrow Sept 7 9 pm Manila time, let’s discuss the following at the #HealthXPH tweet chat.

T1. Should professional use of social media be included in health professions curricula? Why or why not?

T2. Suggest topics on social media which can be included in health professions curricula.

T3. What barriers or concerns do you see with using social media platforms for teaching and learning in health professions education?

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