In this highly technological age, healthcare educators are relying on computer-assisted Instruction (CAI) to train students. What are some of the benefits of and concerns about CAI?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Modern technology has allowed healthcare and medicine to achieve phenomenal results in education, research and solutions to a whole range of medical problems.

Healthcare professionals can obtain information, research information and improve their own problem-solving skills through  the use of CAI (computer-aided instruction). This is hugely beneficial from a perspective of TIME - that of the learner and teacher. It allows the student to keep PRACTISING until he or she can perfect the skill and allows the teacher / instructor to move on and help other students, in need. A teacher can add interactive teaching tools such as images and sounds to enhance the learning process which further encourages PARTICIPATION. 

Once students have begun learning through this method they have almost immediate ACCESS to any data they may have stored. They can comfortably access information and learn at a PACE that is suitable for their own learning styles.  Furthermore, they can learn at a time that is CONVENIENT or, if times are strictly allocated and adhered to, they can hopefully SUPPLEMENT the learning at convenient times. Difficulties with LOCATION for some students who struggle to get to classes can also be overcome.

The PRACTICAL element of this method of teaching in healthcare allows for the creation of simulated situations and occurrences with no danger of causing a life-threatening catastrophe. Obviously, this can NEVER replace the REAL thing especially the stress level comensurate with a real-life scenario and CAI does therefore have limitations. However, students are better prepared for those stressful events. Hopefully, the stress of the first real incident is somewhat moderated due to a student feeling adequately prepared. This does also allow unfortunately for the over-zealous student who thinks he or she already knows everything there is to know!

CAI also minimizes PERSONALITY clashes between some teachers and students as the emphasis is clearly on the learning. It is also therefore important to be mindful that this type of teaching does not become too clinical. Teachers have a wealth of personal EXPERIENCE and knowledge and CAI cannot necessarily compensate for that.

As with any technology, DEVELOPMENT of PROGRAMS and MAINTENANCE  of existing ones is critical to success. In the health care field, there are constant advances and it is necessary to keep up with innovations and progress. Hence there is a huge cash consideration as FUNDS need to be allocated appropriately and sufficient staff need to be employed just to MANAGE and  maintain systems.

FEEDBACK is an essential learning tool and it is imperative that, in CAI, this is appropriate and adequate.

Being aware of the potential problems and always being proactive allows CAI to support and not just replace other methods of teaching in a healthcare environment.