Medical education faces problems caused by increasing restraints on resources. A multicenter consortium combined simulation and multimedia computer-assisted instruction (MCAI) to develop unique interactive teaching programs that can address a number of these problems. We describe the consortium, the MCAI system, the programs, and a multicenter evaluation of technical and educational performance.
The MCAI system uses computer-controlled access to full-screen, full-motion, and full-color laser disc video in combination with digitized sound, images, and graphics stored on removable media. The Socratic teaching method enhances interaction and guides learners through the patient's history, cardiovascular physical examination, laboratory evaluation, and therapy. Self-instruction and instructor-led modes of function are possible. The first five programs, based on simulations of specific cardiology problems, were distributed to four medical centers. Questionnaires evaluated technical function and medical student opinions, while behaviors and scores were automatically tracked and tabulated by program administration software.
The MCAI system functioned reliably and accurately in all modes and at all sites. The programs were highly rated. Student ratings, scores, and behaviors were independent of institution and mode of use.
A multicenter educational consortium developed a system to produce unique, sophisticated MCAI programs in cardiology. Both system and programs functioned reliably at four institutions and were highly rated by fourth-year medical students. With this enthusiastic reception, the economies and strengths associated with MCAI make it an attractive solution to a number of problem areas, and it will likely play an increasingly important role.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:197-203)