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Q is for QStream

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Jun 2014, 12:15


Format for a randomized control trial used by 'Spaced-Ed' (now QStream)

Ok, this is an odd one, but for me, over the last four years, finding out about, then reading the papers on this learning platform has shaped a good deal of my thinking and motivation. Developed by a Harvard Medic and masters postgraduate Dr Price Kerfoot, 'Spaced-Ed' as it was first called tackles the problem of forgetting; it is, to put it simply, an electronic set of flash cards. Say this to junior doctors with a hundred such cards to learn over a few months in order to pass a compulsory written exam though. Content is vital of course, but then the platform simply feeds you the 'cards' by email and link to a webpage as frequently or as infrequently as you wish - six questions in batched of three twice a week worked for me. You get all the questions back at least three times even if you get them right, while you keep getting the questions for those you get wrong UNTIL you have got it right three times. It works. Randomised controlled trials with hundreds, even thousands, show that it is an effective way to put knowledge into heads. That's just the start though. Education changes behaviour, yes, it makes better doctors, it improves decisions making, it gets them through exams.

Quality Assurance of course ought to be my 'Q' but this is like enthusing about cars Top Gear style and then saying you must remember to check the oil, breaks and tyres and have an annual MOT. I have worked professionally in QA too - it matters to check everything in the finest detail if learning is to work and clients are to be pleased.

QR Codes is simple a form of link to webpages that can be used for learning. There are other quick links to the web, including 'near field codes' and image recognition. This is like replacing the traditional car key with an electronic fob; it speeds things up. There are imaginative ways to use QR codes. During H818 I developed the idea of putting them on Commemoration Poppies to link directly to people remembered from the First World War.

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