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AIIMS-Delhi launches pilot project on virtual teaching

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 Rohit Shishodia
Virtual teaching has the potential to address the challenges posed in India by a shortage of medical faculty.

To address the challenges posed by the shortage of faculty or medical teachers across India, AIIMS-Delhi on February 10, 2018, introduced Virtual Teaching on a pilot basis to impart various skills of medical treatment. The new method was introduced by Dr Professor Manoj Singh from the Department of Pathology.

Presently, a team of 40 doctors of AIIMS-Delhi and some doctors of other centers are working in this project.

Dr Singh said: “In an attempt to solve the faculty crunch, we thought of this unique initiative, which is a project for design and development of e-learning courses in health and medical sciences using virtual teaching. We suggest it as supplementation.”

“Virtual Teaching is not a replacement of medical education. It is just a supplement or an addition to medical information. It will improve the quality of teaching and medical students will gain a lot from it. There is a major shortage of doctors in medical teaching. Virtual Teaching will tackle the problem,” added Dr Singh.

In Virtual Teaching, teaching modules were made by Delhi-AIIMS doctors and by other centers, sent to the participating colleges via the NKN cable and viewed by students and their faculty.

“The feedback from students and their preceptors, has been highly encouraging. Almost everyone felt that this was a workable idea. As a partial roll out of the project, AIIMS and CDAC Noida undertook the project where e-content is being delivered to students at North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science, Shillong, and RIMS Imphal,” explained Dr Singh.

Dr Singh pointed out that a huge and absolutely critical area which remains underdeveloped is the teaching of basic medical and laboratory skills.

“Thus, if a person has not learnt the correct technique of measuring the pulse rate, measuring blood pressure, taking a venous blood sample, he or she may go through life performing these tasks wrongly,” said Dr Singh.

Dr Singh added that to make a person proficient in any of these skills, what is necessary is an adequate theoretical background knowledge, and a close study of the precise technique, followed of course by the practice. The first two can be done more than adequately by virtual teaching.

“While all the work has been in the nature of pilot studies, we hope that in time, we will be able to present the government with serious actionable plans, the roll out of which will be greatly beneficial to our health scenarios in many ways,” added Dr Singh.

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