E-learning: The Future of Education in Pakistan

On a recent trip to Pakistan, contributing to the INSPIRE project, I delivered a series of e-learning workshops and talks across a section of the Punjab (a province with a population of over 80 million people!). The participants at these workshops were primarily young doctors and medical educators from throughout the region. The workshops considered the past, present and possible future of education and technology. The sessions were designed to show the current situation in the UK, and particularly in Liverpool, related to education and technology. We then moved into group discussions considering how Pakistan could develop in this area. The day’s activities ended with a practical hands on session where software, introduced earlier in the day, could be experimented with. This section of the workshop included products such as Google Docs, Prezi, Dropbox, Polleverywhere, Ning and many more.

Despite issues such as regular power cuts and a limited technical infrastructure, in some regions, the doctors were very enthusiastic about the use of technology in their teaching and were very keen to learn and explore new opportunities.

Following on from the visit, participants were asked to produce some evidence highlighting effective use of technology in their own teaching. Once demonstrated they will gain a certificate of attendance for the workshop. An online environment has been created for this purpose and several blog posts have already been posted indicating a strong belief that technology plays an essential and integral part of medical education in Pakistan.

It was an excellent visit from my point of view, fascinating to experience a different culture and hugely rewarding to work in a new environment. I would also like to think the visit was well received with colleagues in Pakistan. Our activities attracted some local and national attention, culminating in newspaper articles and an invitation to speak with the Punjab chief minister. The welcome we received, everywhere we went, was incredible and the hospitality of the Pakistani people, during our visit, second to none.

Further developments currently underway, as a result of the visit, are a project to create a VLE for the University of Health Sciences (UHS), Lahore, using a Google Apps for Education domain and the potential creation of PhDs and further significant training opportunities between Pakistan and the University of Liverpool. Exciting times!

Paul Duvall.

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