Learning through Osmosis: Student-Driven Social Learning & Retention

April 8, 2013 3:50 - 5:20pm

Shiv M Gaglani, BA, M. Ryan Haynes, PhD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Medical students must learn a tremendous amount of material in order to become broadly competent physicians. However, the knowledge obtained from each course rapidly decays following the completion of the block, thus negatively affecting performance during clerkships, licensing exams, and clinical practice. We have developed a novel mobile- and web-based software, called Osmosis, that aims to improve long- term retention by uniquely combining adaptive spacing, the testing effect, and social network- enabled peer-to-peer learning. Osmosis (http://osmose-it.com/) provides free access to thousands of crowd-sourced high-yield practice questions and explanations. Question quality is enhanced through a novel rating and commenting feature, and responses are stored on a secure server to be used for education research. An alpha version of Osmosis has been used by 240 first and year medical students at Johns Hopkins & Perdana University since January 2012. In less than 10 months over 2,600 practice questions have been contributed by 60 students and answered more than 250,000 times. In addition, over 600 Creative Commons images and YouTube videos have been shared to enhance learning. Initial usage statistics and reception by students & faculty are very promising, and indicate that the platform is flexible, fits well into busy schedules, and helps participants self-assess knowledge gaps. We are continuing to develop features for Osmosis and are in the validation process.