It is undisputable that in medicine, simulation and real world problem solving are promising pedagogical tools, which improve authentic learning. Learning authentically implies that users face simulations of their present or future professional practice in order to develop proper skills. Based on this, a project under the title “ ICT e-modules on HistoPathology: a valuable online tool for students, researchers and professionals - HIPON”, co-financed by the Lifelong Learning Program of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, The Commission of the European Union, has been launched at the beginning of 2013.
The project has resulted in a user-friendly e-learning platform which aims to make end-users able to think as experienced pathologists, through the new teaching approach based on case studies. In the relevant section, the most innovative one of the project, the correct diagnostic procedure is presented step by step, simulating the same process a pathologist follows when a tissue specimen is examined, in every day practice.
At the beginning, a real clinical case is presented providing multiple original microscopic images, together with appropriate brief descriptions or questions (figure 1a); furthermore, selective additional information is available to the user (figure 1b) in order that the correct diagnosis is achieved (figure 1c). The latter is being thoroughly justified by a detailed explanation (figure 1d), which clarifies the means of all previously provided data and underlines their connection to the final diagnosis.
Figure 1: Step by step case study presentation in the “Neoplasms of the skin” HIPON chapter.
The essence is the experienced presentation of the analytical thought so as to reach the pathologic diagnosis. Through the educational tools provided by HIPON platform, users will familiarize with that process and therefore become highly knowledgeable about using all the acquired knowledge to approach a patient’s tissue specimen and achieve the correct diagnosis. Users will learn authentically how to think as an experienced pathologist.