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Medical Education Advance
Special Contribution
By John Hagan
While still in the nascent stage, if South Korea’s Byeong Ho Kang’s research proves fruitful, medical education in Australia may see the introduction of an innovative new teaching aid, allowing students to work independently to enhance and consolidate their knowledge. An Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Tasmania, where he specialises in knowledge acquisition and artificial intelligence, Byeong’s system is set to expose medical students to an array of learning situations based on professional and specific domain wisdom.

“My method is based on acquiring heuristic knowledge from experts in the field and transferring this information to a computer system”, states Byeong. “We show medical cases, symptoms and test results to perceived experts asking for their opinion or diagnosis”. This data is retained by the system with the student being led, by a series of interrogation techniques, augmented by perhaps additional requested information, to form a clinical assessment and suggested treatment, before comparing their findings with that of the expert.

In the face of increasingly limited teaching resources within Australian medical schools, Byeong sees his system as a tool to provide valuable diagnostic experience to fledgling physicians. “The more students can practice, the more they learn. Lecturers and clinical instructors can program the system to teach students without them [lecturers and clinical instructors] being present”, he declares. “The majority of self-learning tools are based on content or fixed scenarios – they are not problem based as with this approach”, he adds. Another benefit, according to Byeong, is that the introduction of his procedure, based on expert knowledge, will enable the Head of School to monitor the teaching standards of his/her staff helping to ensure a “consistency of teaching” across a range of options.

Byeong has already devised an instruction system based on sapiental knowledge which is installed at the US$2.7 billion Dangjin Coal-Fired Power Plant, located south of Seoul.

For more information on the medical expert teaching method contact Byeong Ho Kang bhkang@utas.edu.au



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John Hagan, who serves as a travel writer for The Seoul Times, is a freelance journalist based in Tasmania, Australia. Born in Ireland, and a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the University of Wales, he emigrated to Australia in 1976 to take up a lecturing position. He contributes articles to a number of newspapers and magazines in South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, UK and Australia.

 

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