I always learn something new when I listen to your lectures

I always learn something new when I listen to your lectures

This is something I get to hear from many faculty members and sometimes from students who have heard my lectures or webinars more than once. More often it is faculty members who say this as they are the organizers of events and the people who invite me to speak.

It of course feels wonderful receiving a compliment like this. But recently it had me wondering. I realized that the crux of my lectures on literature searching or reference management are the same. I teach the principles of searching and show a couple of features in PubMed. Or I teach the principles of referencing and the basics of using a reference manager.

How much could be new in these? I rarely give a list of useful sites – because that kind of information is available through several sources. What is special about what I teach is the actual theories of searching and referencing. These are not taught in medical colleges (or related colleges).

What I DO make an effort to do on a regular basis is to make the learning easier. To ensure that all or majority understand the theories of searching and referencing. For instance – the use of Boolean Operators. Long back I used Venn Diagrams – like most people do. People understand them as they watch, but later forget. I later taught this using several different methods. Recently I taught it by demonstrating a cupboard full of books on Cataract, a cupboard with books on Glaucoma and showing how if we wanted Cataract AND Glaucoma – the result would be one book that discussed both Cataract and Glaucoma together! It would not be the sum of all books in both cupboards.

So – the new is not a new feature or fact, but a new method of teaching that one finds more useful! And of course, one usually absorbs only so much after attending a lecture. And that is exactly why one needs to be able to refresh oneself. And that is why we have our learning resource – www.qmedcourses.in – one need not forget what one has learnt!

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