Exploring Social Media’s Potential in Interprofessional Education

Jeff Cain, Katherine Chretien

Abstract


Social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs have become part of mainstream society and are currently being used throughout health professions education. The asynchronous nature and conversational aspects of social media permit learners to collaborate with and learn from others in different fields. Interprofessional education (IPE) is a growing paradigm in health professions schools for a variety of reasons, including the desire to teach future practitioners how to communicate with each other and engage in collaborative care. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of IPE curricula, those programs must overcome numerous logistical barriers to be successful. Finding suitable times and locations for interprofessional students to meet and arranging opportunities for them to collaborate on healthcare issues are just two of the logistical impediments to IPE implementation. Fortunately, the asynchronous, conversational, and collaborative aspects of social media applications enable them to facilitate interprofessional communication and alleviate some of the time and space issues. In this article, we describe in further detail the merits of social media relevant to IPE, provide specific examples of how social media can be used to enhance aspects of IPE programs, and make a call for further research in this area.

Keywords


social media, online learning, social networking, online community

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22230/jripe.2013v3n2a110