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“Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet …”
Last year, I began adding physiology modules to heart-lung.org as a part of a Master’s Degree I am undertaking at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. The goal of these modules has been to encourage interaction and participation with the many hours of lectures on ICU hemodynamics that I recorded during my fellowship at Stanford. My desire has been to concoct a framework for enhancing the transfer of medical theory to clinical practice.
To this end, these modules follow pedagogical principles which hold that knowledge is created and not simply acquired. This analogy of knowledge maintains that understanding is more than passively procuring pieces of information to be piled up into one’s cognitive framework. Indeed, knowledge creation demands that individuals participate and create mediating artifacts and practices for future use. Ill-defined problems which are clinically-relevant can create a common dialogue – a point-of-departure – for individuals to forge a collective practice driven by shared tools and interactions.
In some ways, this approach to knowledge is akin to quantum physics. Understanding a concept and carrying that into practice is not purely a parcel of information owned by an individual, nor is it amorphously spread out amongst members of a practicing community. There is a duality to understanding and know-how. Like an electron participating in a double-slit experiment, knowledge scurrying about a community-of-practice behaves as much as a particle as it does a wave.
Please try at least one of these modules, and complete a brief survey thereafter. This data will represent one portion of my thesis defense this June. Additionally, sharing this with as many people as possible would be tremendously helpful as I collect data.
Lastly, wide distribution underpins the ethos of free and open-access medical education and recapitulates the knowledge analogy above. Knowledge is neither the domain of the individual nor the collective; rather, knowledge exists wherever the twain shall meet.