Establishment of the Supra-Regional Network of the National Centres in Medical Education, focused on PBL and Virtual Patients

15/10/12 to 31/01/16

It is increasingly recognised that structured and regular curriculum renewal is an essential element of modern medical education, and therefore requires specialist academic educationalists and a specialised unit to lead on developing and embedding. This expertise is missing in post–Soviet medical education, which is teacher-based and classroom-orientated, and, it is generally agreed, requires modernising to more authentic competency-based learning styles with greater relevance to clinical practice.

This consortium proposes the creation of national medical education centres (MECs) in Georgia (GE), Ukraine (UA) and Kazakhstan (KZ). Their initial task is to modernise the teacher-based and classroom-orientated biomedical science component of the medicine course in 6 universities in the Partner Countries (GE, UA and KZ), moving to more student-motivating, competency-based learning styles. Curricula in medicine are now built around enquiry-based collaborative approaches to learning, especially Problem Based Learning (PBL), where students work in teams to explore, manage or solve a problem. They then have access to many forms of face-to-face and online learning resources.

Moreover, recently curricula have benefited from technological developments to introduce interactive forms of PBL using ‘virtual patients’, which are closely aligned with modern student behaviour and experience, and provide a game–informed, media-saturated environment. These allow students to consider different options as an interactive case unfolds, take decisions, and explore the consequences of their own patient management.

The outcome of modernisation will be curricula that more closely mirrors clinical practice; students learn in the way they will practice, and will be assessed in the way that they learn.