One of my goals for MissionToLearn is to periodically highlight organizations that are doing interesting work to support the development and dissemination of learning technologies. Along those lines, I recently had the opportunity to attend, for the second year in a row, the annual conference of Medbiquitous, an organization that bills itself as the creator of “technology standards to advance healthcare education and connect the leading entities in professional medicine and healthcare.”
Now, on the surface, a standards group may sound like one of the drier targets I could have picked, but then any organization that coins its name from the infrequently-used SAT vocabulary stumper “ubiquitous” and has even gone so far as to publish an eponymous song on its Website surely must have something of value to offer. As Medbiq itself puts it, the end goal of its standards work is to “make healthcare education more accessible, measurable, and effective, thereby improving patient care.” A laudable goal in this day and age to say the least.
The key to Medbiquitous’ eventual success—and I do, in fact, believe this is one set of standards that will not simply be put out to pasture after an initial mad dash get boatloads of documentation across the finish line—is the effort of seven distinct working groups. Full information can be found at http://www.medbiq.org/working_groups, but worth calling out is the fact that Medbiquitous has focused the majority of the early working group efforts towards nailing down a learning object model
(drawing on the SCORM initiative of the ADLNet and a professional profile standard. Following closely behind is an activity report
standard. These three together address a core issue across the medical community, and for that matter, pretty much any community in which continuing education (CE, CME, CEU, etc.), credentialing and certification are important. They define how learning opportunities can be packaged and shared, how key learner information is to be maintained, and how the combination of the two can be shared with the relevant bodies for managing medical education data.
Some of the more cutting edge work being done by Medbiquitous members is aimed at point-of-care learning—actually providing
physicians with critical knowledge while they are in the process of actively caring for patients—and virtual patient education based on interactive computer programs that simulate real life clinical scenarios. Progress in each of these areas can be tracked on their respective Working Group pages and also in MELD the E-learning Discourse community that Medbiquitous has deployed to support its broader efforts. Visitors to the MELD site will find a range of great resources, many of which are applicable outside of healthcare e-learning scenarios. In general, both Medbiquitous and MELD provide a great example of a sector seizing the opportunity that Web-based learning presents and managing its own destiny.