Canadian innovation brings new learning tools to the next generation of physicians around the World

No matter where they are, the next generation of physicians will now be able to learn from the best medical professors in the world for free. Launched this week, medskl.com will make medical education more accessible and more effective.

A Canadian innovation, medskl.com is a new way of teaching medicine. The open-access, online resource uses video lectures, white-board animations and summary notes to help students and doctors diagnose and treat a broad range of illnesses.

“Medskl online lectures incorporate the answers to frequently asked questions gleaned from live classroom presentations,” says Dr. Bernard Unikowsky an Associate Professor in the Division of Nephrology at McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine who is involved in the initiative.

Dr. Sanjay Sharma, a retina specialist and professor of ophthalmology and epidemiology at Queen’s University, came up with the concept after recognizing that traditional medical lectures were not the ideal learning environment for digital natives. “Today’s students are attuned to learning online, not sitting through long didactic lectures,” he notes.

Dr. Sharma and his team spent two years reaching out to medical schools and students across North America to identify the best professors to be involved in the project. To date, over 170 professors have been recruited to author the content, drawn from such prestigious centres as the University of Toronto, Queen’s, McGill, Dalhousie and UBC here in Canada, and Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic in the U.S.

“The lessons are designed to be short, fun and engaging so the information sticks,” explains Dr. Sharma. The learning modules are also meant to support the ‘flipped classroom’ approach now being used in many leading North American medical schools where students learn material outside the classroom and use lecture time instead for discussion.

Some 100 modules have been created so far, and approximately another 100 modules are to be added in the next few months.

Since the soft launch of medskl.com in July, students from over 50 universities have already registered. Most Canadian medical schools will start using medskl.com content this Fall. In the U.S., Yale, Johns Hopkins, and Duke will be incorporating medskl.com into their medical curriculum this year.

Photo courtesy of Marie-Pier Bastrash
Photo courtesy of Marie-Pier Bastrash

“Medskl is a learning tool like no other on the market. As VP Student Affairs for the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) and fourth-year medical student at McGill, I have had the privilege to use Medskl’s outstanding case presentation-based modules. Medskl is a must-see, free and innovative resource for all medical students, endorsed by the CFMS,” adds Marie-Pier Bastrash of McGill’s Class of 2017.

And because medskl.com is available anywhere there is an internet connection, it will help remove barriers to medical education throughout the world.

“While we tend to think of medical care as being the exclusive domain of physicians, in a holistic sense it is often delivered by others, especially in developing countries,” Dr. Sharma notes.

“Our goal is to bring this information to a global audience, and medskl.com now makes it possible. Medical students, caregivers and patients – whether they’re located in Toronto, Lagos, Mumbai or anywhere else – can now learn from the best professors and the most effective educational resources.”

September 22, 2016