"Tell me and I'll forget, show me and I may remember and involve me and I'll understand"
- Who am I?
I am medical doctor working as a psychiatric resident on the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Fellowship Program. I graduated with Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from Otago University in New Zealand.
I also currently work as a clinical fellow at the Centre of Health System Innovation and Improvement (Ko Awatea) in Auckland, New Zealand and is working towards a PhD in Medical Education under the supervision of Professor Andrew Graham Hill at Auckland University.
I am happily married and have 2 children who enjoy playing games with their dad
One of my best friends in fifth year medical school class was given a red card to either pass that year or be kicked out of medical school. At the time I was shocked as I knew how knowledgeable he was. In fact, he knew more than I did! So how could they?
To tackle this serious threat to his life and the life of his family of few kids and a wife, we started studying together. We came to realize that he had no problem in storing knowledge and that the problem was how to retrieve this knowledge. We trialled many things including lists, rehearsal, role play etc but whenever we enact a clinical exam situation, he froze.
We almost gave up and I was running out of options as he knew everything almost perfectly but when he was asked about it, he would have a blank slate. I started despairing and lucky I did because when you become disparate and in need, new thinking emerges!
I knew there were variables in our study group dynamics which included me taking on the teacher role, him taking the student role and the way I taught.
I knew he was capable of storing the knowledge, so it was not his problem. This made me feel guiltier as I have promised to help him through this. It was either me or my teaching style. I thought of blaming my teaching style as I was too good to be wrong (lol). One day, full of embarrassment, I thought of sharing with him my “silly visual scribbles” which is how I usually learn which turned out to be the key for his success ever since.
We were both electrocuted at how easily he retrieved his knowledge and subsequently passed his clinical exams with “flying colors”. Since then, he has kept in touch and was encouraging me to publish a book on this. He is now a happily married family physician with 4 children. The happy ending was the same for me as his belief in what I have developed made me ask if it was a feasible educational tool. Out many sceptics of this, 3 believed strongly in its potential including Professor Andrew G Hill who encouraged me to research this under his supervision as a PhD question. I came to realise that these scribbles were called visual metaphors and have been proven to improve memory, reduce cognitive load and improve performance.
In order to speak today’s digital language, I also researched different teaching and learning styles especially the use of gamification. I can easily say that I married the effective use of visual metaphor with gamification thus making an online game where multiple learning styles are catered for.
- My equation:
Doctor + visual metaphor enhanced gamification= happy doctor and better treated patient.
- My belief:
Medical education should not be a one size fits all phenomenon but different sizes fitting different learners.
- My challenge:
To make medical education zoom out of the textually based teaching methods to include utilizing other contemporary teaching methods such as utilizing visual metaphor and gamification techniques.
Just imagine a professor using an overhead projector in the world of Power Point and Prezi!
- The outcome:
The medical teacher and the student could be on the same wavelength speaking the same digital and sensory input language yielding better outcomes for teachers, students and ultimately optimal patient care.
- My Vision:
To see a world where universities and hospitals have visual metaphor museums or labs where medical student and doctor generated visual metaphors of medical concepts are designed, refined over the years thus benefiting from the genius in everyone of them. I can imagine them taking photos of these 3 D printed visual metaphors and sharing them through their social media with colleagues from the less privileged countries. Where students and staff are collaborating to make online game concept designs which are commissioned by the computer science students as part of their graduation projects. Finally, I hope the dream continues and that I only wake up in a time where this is reality. But while i am day dreaming, I have no time to waste as I will personally continue condensing the dream droplets to reality rain washing.