Power Shift: Open Access, High Quality Medical Education

Oct 21, 2013, 6:00 AM, Posted by

By Rishi Desai

We’re at a pretty remarkable time in health care education. Things are changing rapidly; good ideas are flying—free online content, shared question banks, mastery-based education, gamification. Some are pretty excited about the potential; many are frankly pretty anxious about these new changes and even more so about the potential for even bigger change. Some might feel lost. At the Khan Academy, count us in the excited camp.  

I came to Khan Academy a year ago to realize my own dream of getting the best health and medicine content out to students. I had big hopes, but astoundingly we are already moving well beyond what I imagined. This summer we identified through our nation-wide MCAT video contest in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Association of American Medical Colleges, 15 new smart, talented, leaders—people, like me, who are ready for this big change and committed to making it happen.

Where are we now? Why our sense of big change? On the content creation side, we found folks through our MCAT competition who really know their stuff and are creating first-class questions and video content for students. We have an equally impressive team of reviewers from the AAMC making sure that the content is scientifically accurate. It’s especially useful given that the new 2015 MCAT exam covers important psychology and sociology content, which was not previously included. We’re working hard on this content to make sure that the videos offer students a fun, engaging way to learn, and that the questions are challenging enough to allow students to retrieve information and tie it together.

In the coming months, the Khan site will have a rapidly increasing amount of video and question content for the MCAT exam. It will be and will remain completely free for anyone in the world with a computer and an Internet connection. We believe that access to this knowledge will help thousands of folks prepare for the test—or simply learn about important health fundamentals. For over a century, one had to have money and some power to access this knowledge. In a mere few months, that same knowledge will be available, free, fun, and completely fantastic. Brace yourselves.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.