Over the last three years there has been a rapid increase in the amount of medical education resources on the web. The contributors tend to fall into three main areas:
Most students are required to produce and present a certain amount of educational material during their studies. Many, therefore, end up with PowerPoints and documents on various topics. The more ambitious may create videos: either animations in flash, or more real-life videos that demonstrate something such as an examination technical. Some of these students enjoy this so much that they have developed sites dedicated to such material. Sites such as Podmedics and Surgery and Medicine are examples of students who have grouped together to upload their work to a central place where it can be shared in the community. They advertise on Facebook and Twitter and gain a small following.
Some organisations have realised that there is a market for the production of multimedia resources and have invested time and money into producing them. Companies such as MD Kiosh and ORLive run subscription services for high quality videos and have developed full time businesses around this work.
Universities have also realised the potential for creating high quality media and some, such as the University of California and the University of Wisconsin, have invested into television-like streams, trying to tap in to the students natural viewing habits. As time goes on it seems likely that most medical education will move away from textbooks and towards the multimedia resources. There will always be a need for the written word but it is likely that it will become more incorporated into other forms of media, such as presentations and annotated videos.
The final, and possibly most influential type of contributor is the social network / portal site. Here, all the information from around the web is culminated in one place, where users can go to find what they are looking for These sites act as portals for all the other types of site and help spread their reach well beyond their local community. Here at Meducation, we have contributors from over 100 countries and pride ourselves on making easy-to-find resources for everyone. As time goes on and more users start to discover portal sites, more traffic will flood to the sites they support and the whole infrastructure can grow incrementally.