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INTRODUCTION

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Remarkable advances are regularly made in the science, clinical practice, and procedural applications of interventional cardiology, challenging the interventional cardiologist to systematically integrate new knowledge into a demanding, complex, and fast-paced environment. The rapid expansion of the evidence base for cardiovascular medicine has occurred contemporaneously with transformative changes in information technology. The Internet originated as a Department of Defense project in 1969, and the World Wide Web entered the national consciousness in 1991 with the introduction of the first graphical web browser, called Mosaic. Over the next few decades, the World Wide Web has become a ubiquitous presence in daily life that has affected all aspects of communication and social interaction. Not surprisingly, the Internet has also become a major means of distributing a broad range of educational materials. The Internet was so pervasive that in 2013, there were more than 2 trillion Google searches representing nearly 6 billion searches per day, presumably by individuals seeking information.1 With the rapid growth of mobile devices, people can basically access information and learn anywhere and at any time. Online learning has affected educational domains from preschool to professional education, and each area has its unique attributes and challenges. In this chapter, however, only the most important aspects of web-based learning as it pertains to the interventional cardiologist will be presented.

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WEB-BASED LEARNING AND ADULT LEARNING THEORY

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Adult learning strategies (called andragogy) originated in ancient times; for example, both Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum were focused on adult education.2 Although much academic work at American universities has focused on children from kindergarten through high school (known as pedagogy, or the science of teaching children), adult learning theory expanded and acquired a stronger theoretical basis with the work of Malcolm Knowles and others in the 1970s. Adult learning theory continues to evolve, and newer theories known as “transformative learning theory” are being actively explored in the academic literature. Transformative learning relates to changing one’s perspective on one’s self and one’s place in the larger social context.

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Adult learning theory, according to Knowles, is based on a number of assumptions:

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  1. As a person matures, his or her self-concept moves from that of a dependent personality toward one of a self-directing human being.

  2. Adults accumulate a growing reservoir of experience, which is a rich resource for learning.

  3. The readiness of an adult to learn is closely related to the developmental tasks of his or her social role.

  4. There is a change in time perspective as people mature—from future of knowledge to immediacy of application; thus, an adult is more problem-centered than subject-centered in learning.

  5. Adults are mostly driven by internal motivation, rather than external motivation.

  6. Adults need to know the reason for learning something.2

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An important assumption of adult learning relates to accumulated life experiences as a rich resource for learning. Indeed, medical residency, general cardiology fellowship, and interventional ...

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