Utilization of Technology and Active Learning Drive Innovation in Higher Education

Greater utilization of technology and the embrace of Active Learning underpin the calls for greater efficacy and wholesale innovation within medical education to increase comprehension and retention, and to prepare students to become better medical practitioners.

Most of the conversation about the impact of technology on higher education has been misdirected either towards the economics of distribution or the ability to replace the classroom. In the former, people use a cacophony of terms like “scalability” and “zero incremental cost distribution” to imply that one can treat higher education just like any product.  Regarding the second, it is because people try to grapple with how technology affects  the cost of delivering education. It’s logical – replace the brick and mortar classroom with a virtual one and core costs drop, with the assumption that costs to students will be lower. Both however miss the mark of the true impact of technology.

I believe in order to have transformative economics of a truly innovative education platform, one has to understand that technology often changes the very nature of the product itself.

Indeed, the provision of technology in higher education does much more than change the economics of distribution. Technology allows for pedagogical change, which in turn transforms the very nature of higher education from an asymmetric learning experience revolved around the traditional lecture, to symmetric, with the student engaged with interactive communication tools. The result is true innovation – students being trained to become better physicians at a lower cost.

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