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Education in practice
Technology-enhanced learning in gastroenterology
  1. Neel Sharma1,
  2. Gavin Johnson2,
  3. Khek Yu Ho3,4
  1. 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, National University Hospital, Singapore, Singapore
  2. 2Gastrointestinal Services Division, Senior Lecturer in Medical Education, University College Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
  4. 4Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Research Office, National University Health System, Singapore, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Neel Sharma, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, National University Hospital, 1E Kent Ridge Road, NUHS, Tower Block Level 10, Singapore 119228, Singapore; drneelsharma{at}

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Technology is ubiquitous in today's society, and the practice of medicine is no different. Doctors also rely on technology throughout their careers for education. This includes access to the latest evidence-based literature, undertaking online learning modules, updating their ePortfolio for on-the-job recording of training progression and assessment and high-fidelity simulation for the replication of acute scenarios. Social media has created a host of mobile-device applications such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. These offer rapid access to journal updates, specialist society notifications and instant messaging between colleagues.

This commentary aims to summarise the recent and potential future uses of technology-enhanced learning in the field of gastroenterology. We hope readers find this useful, and we welcome their comments.

Flipping the classroom

The flipped classroom is a novel form of pedagogy. In essence, it relies on reversing lecture and ‘homework’ elements. Learners are provided instructional material prior to a class/lecture session. Material may take the form of audio or video resources that focus on a particular aspect of the curriculum, and typically takes 5–10 minutes to complete. During class time, candidates are divided into groups, and are tasked with working through case-based scenarios. The scenarios are designed to explore learners’ knowledge from the preparatory material. Learners work collaboratively with their peers to solve problems and enhance knowledge application. A typical format will ask groups to select the most likely diagnosis, investigation or management plan, and display responses simultaneously to generate discussion. An advantage of the flipped classroom is the benefit of real-time feedback by the facilitator to correct misunderstandings and to answer further questions.

The flipped classroom in a medical sense was first pioneered by Charles Prober at Stanford when he used this approach during a core biochemistry course. The outcome proved positive, particularly from an attendance perspective, which rose from 30% to 80%.1

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  • Contributors NS, GJ and KYH contributed equally to the writing of the manuscript and approval of the final version.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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