For the first 2,000 years (give or take) of health science education, students learned about the four Hippocratic humors: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. It wasn’t until the 16th century that this theory saw a serious challenge, and it persisted until the 1800s.
It’s been fewer than 200 years since the four humors theory was finally put to rest. Think about how much our understanding of health has changed in just 10 generations. Germ theory, vaccination, X-rays—and the list goes on and on. Our understanding of how the human body works has increased exponentially, and our knowledge base is growing ever more quickly.
The way we teach health science needs to evolve, too. Lecture halls and standardized tests are still part of the learning process, but digital learning has the potential to greatly enhance the teaching process and help students learn more course material at a faster rate.
Here are just a few of the potential benefits digital learning can bring to health science education.
How Digital Learning Enhances Health Science Education
1. More Up-to-Date Content
Health science is a continually-evolving, rapidly-changing field. Digital course materials can be updated without going back to the book publisher for another print run. Students can always have the most current information in their course materials—and teachers don’t have to fill in knowledge gaps caused by out-of-date textbooks.
2. Searchable Content
Digital content makes it easier for students to find exactly what they’re looking for. Digital course materials can be indexed online using the same search engines that put the internet at our fingertips. That means students can easily pinpoint the information they need for a project or assessment. And it means teachers can spend less time helping students find information and more time assisting in the learning process.
3. More Personalized Instruction
A digital learning course is easier to customize for different learning styles, even down to the individual student level. Teachers can adjust instruction and assessment far more easily than in a traditional in-person lecture format. Since digital courses make it easier to track student progress (more on that later), teachers can see where students need help and customize instruction on the fly.
4. More Precise Measurement and Accountability
It can be tricky for teachers with a full roster of students to keep manual track of each pupil’s progress. That’s doubly true if it involves keeping track of printed copies of research papers and tests. Digital learning can include assessments and projects; everything is submitted digitally and tracked within the course itself. With that technology, it’s easy for teachers to see at a glance how each student is progressing.
5. Opportunities for Collaboration
Students in a physical classroom can push their desks together to collaborate, but group work is limited to class time and to those who are actually in the room. Digital learning offers far more ways that students can teach, and learn from, each other. Forums, comment threads, and shared documents are just a few of the ways digital learning brings students together.
6. Integrated Multimedia
Digital course materials can seamlessly bring together diverse types of content into a single learning experience. Audio, video, visual and interactive elements can operate in tandem with text and lectures to round out the learning experience. Student projects can also take advantage of multimedia to create and share authentic products that demonstrate knowledge more effectively than written evaluations alone.
7. Improvement in Computer Literacy
The next generation of health professionals needs to know how to use a wide array of technology. Modern medicine deals just as much with tablets and computers as it does with stethoscopes and thermometers. It may seem like anyone under 30 has been surrounded by this technology their entire lives. The truth is, though, that access to technology has more to do with socioeconomic status than age. Digital courses can help students learn how to use technology more effectively, including the ability to find and critically evaluate online information.
Digital Learning Boosts Health Science Education
Your next health science course won’t include a module on the four humors. That much is a given. But as much as our knowledge about health has evolved in the past 2,000 years, it’s poised to change even more in the next 20. Digital learning can keep your courses up-to-date, incorporate the latest teaching methodology, and better equip your students for success in the field.
Caduceus creates interactive, multi-dimensional health curriculum that engages students and promotes learning. Explore our courses here.