The Development of an Introductory E-Learning Module on Echocardiography
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Echocardiography, or cardiac ultrasound, is an imaging technique that has been increasingly used by multiple clinicians due to its ease of use and the valuable information that can be obtained from it. As a result, echocardiography training has been incorporated into multiple postgraduate medical programs. In addition, there have been increasing attempts to incorporate this imaging modality into the undergraduate medical curriculum. Due to the importance of this technique and its increased use, there have been multiple online resources on echocardiography developed. However, there is not a single freely accessible resource that is directed at first-time “naïve” learners. The goal of this study was to create an easy-to-access online learning module on echocardiography that can be used by first-time learners. The online resource was designed to provide an overview of the skills to be acquired during introductory level training in echocardiography. The module was developed through the Medical Education Technology unit at Queen’s University to allow access by all medical faculty and students associated with this institution. The content and images of the module were evaluated by a group of twelve first year medical students who had no prior experience with echocardiography. This group found that the content coverage was sufficient for their limited knowledge in echocardiography and that the images used were sufficiently-labelled to enhance their learning. Also, the plastinated sectional heart images, which were included, were well-accepted and the students found them helpful for interpreting echocardiographic images. In addition, the module was assessed by a group of cardiologists who are involved in echocardiography training and research at Kingston General Hospital. There was consensus from this group about the usefulness and effectiveness of this introductory echocardiography learning module.