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Using mobile devices for teaching and learning in clinical medicine
  1. Colin James Lumsden1,
  2. Lucie Marie Theresa Byrne-Davis1,
  3. Jane Suzanne Mooney1,
  4. John Sandars2
  1. 1University of Manchester, Medical School, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Medical Education, Medical School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Colin James Lumsden, University of Manchester, Medical School, Stopford Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK; colin.lumsden{at}manchester.ac.uk

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Introduction

The learning landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade and is undergoing a further seismic shift with the ubiquity of mobile internet-connected devices. Smartphones and tablets can now provide access to an almost unlimited amount of information that is accessible anytime and anyplace. Mobile devices have become commonplace for learning (and perhaps even the norm) in the classroom, higher education and the workplace. Early evaluation data from such projects have revealed heterogeneity in the adoption and acceptance of these devices among users. Whilst many see the undoubted benefits, issues including digital literacy and the need to integrate new ways of learning can be a barrier to uptake. With the increasing availability of highly intuitive devices and a generation of learners that access, and indeed process, information in a completely different way than the generations that preceded them, the issue is not whether we adopt these new technologies but whether we make the most of the opportunities they provide.

Access to learning within paediatrics

The paediatric setting is a complex and demanding clinical learning environment. The provision of ready access to learning can be thought of in terms of supporting both explicit and tacit knowledge requirements. Clinicians are expected to apply the highest standards of practice according to local and national guidelines. Achieving this draws on their explicit knowledge, sourced from traditional references, a process that can, and will, be facilitated by connectivity. Perhaps for the first time patients, parents and relatives have almost unfettered access to the same resources and have consequently higher or differing expectations of patient care. In addition, it could be argued that the public are no longer willing to unquestioningly accept the opinion of a clinician. The instant access to high-quality reference resources will be crucial to doctors both for their own learning and their clinical practice. Doctors are also …

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