Medical academic institutions and medical professional societies alike are increasingly required to invest in external overspecialised expertise in order to enrich their curricula and/or their educational material by developing overspecialized courses and corresponding educational content. Such content cannot at the moment be easily discovered, retrieved, re-used and thus shared across institutions and among medical teachers and students (undergraduate and professionals alike). The new opportunities offered by the Internet and the expansion of information and communication technology (ICT) have enabled the explosion of online education and e-learning.
Collaboration and content sharing (i.e. virtual expert educator sharing) in medical education will inevitably alter the overall process of developing and preparing course materials. But, the notion of collaboration goes beyond merely sharing tasks and content across different educators. Shared resources should be used along with educational standards for the interoperable use of medical educational material across Europe in order to maximize content uptake by medical educators in attempting to underpin and extend current teaching and learning, minimize inefficient practice, reduce costs, and eventually improve the consistency and quality of health care and wellbeing of patients throughout the EU.
Today, an increasing number of higher academic institutions are using a variety of web-based learning management tools to support their teaching. This gained experience indicates that similar web-based tools can support and enhance educational collaboration on a permanent basis among higher education and research institutions in medicine. Developers of e-learning around the world point out that access to comprehensive repositories of learning objects (LOs) and metadata is the crucial factor in the future of e-learning.
Indeed, a number of research projects are already dealing with the exchange of learning objects (LOs) as for example ARIADNE, COSMOS, COLDEX, CELEBRATE, SLOOP, SeLeNe, EdReNe, LOUISA, UCeL and many more (please check related projects). It is evident that although a lot of effort has been put in the area of educational content development, description, and sharing, currently there is no prominent clear and standards-based solution for the seamless sharing of educational content in medicine and in general.
mEducator BPN, recruited in its core by partners that have participated in a number of the above mentioned projects, will work towards this direction; bring together collective experience and expertise from a number of the above projects and advance this with new partnerships towards a reference model for medical educational content sharing based on educational standards and standardized commonplace technology.