ALERT interviewed one of the over 1 000 users of ALERT® STUDENT, and during the interview, Tiago Taveira Gomes, a student at the Faculty of Medicine of Porto University, talks about the reasons for choosing this tool and also of future challenges.
What motivated you to start using ALERT® STUDENT?
I started using ALERT® STUDENT because it is an innovative study tool that increases portability of the knowledge we need to acquire during the Medicine degree. This is so because I can access knowledge, and my study notes, no matter where I am. The fact that knowledge is segmented according to concepts and grouped by institutions, the student can expect to find, for each approached theme, the information that has a higher significance in the context of their institution and which the student finds more important to learn. This is an asset when compared with other pure knowledge tools, such as Wikipedia or UpToDate, where this distinction of each faculty's specific needs is non-existent.
Tell us about your first impression.
From the beginning, and for me, ALERT® STUDENT seemed to be a very promising tool to be added to Medicine students' resources. The information is organized in an intuitive manner and the concept system enables the user to see beyond the "class" or "theme" specific knowledge, which permits information to be reused easily throughout the course in other subjects and approached several times. Moreover, learning becomes quicker and easier due to the use of materials that are already known and are developed by students. There is less redundant information, as the same is summarized in concept format, which can be used and developed in a transversal manner for different items throughout the academic path.
As a Medicine student, what are the advantages of this tool?
Besides making studying easier due to the already mentioned portability of knowledge, which is available anywhere as long as there is internet access, and the mentioned text annotations functionalities, the structure of concepts organized by knowledge categories itself also makes the learning process easier. The use of "Fast Facts" – short facts and definitions on a given concept – enable the user to easily summarize existing knowledge of a concept, which can then be approached in more depth through "High Yield Topics" – these contain more detailed explanations and descriptions of those facts. This is very interesting because it has a differentiating approach to knowledge and enables superficial study that can be developed at a later stage. Other knowledge categories, such as 'High Yield Clinical Vignettes' and the SOAP approach are also very interesting because they convey clinical practice knowledge in a simple manner that does not, necessarily, imply pathophysiologic details or other information which, depending on the study context, may not be relevant at the time. In brief, I would say that ALERT® STUDENT is an extremely flexible tool as it allows the user to study according to different perspectives with great ease.
The future: what challenges and perspectives does the use of this tool offer the studying and teaching of Medicine?
Despite being a very interesting tool on the onset, ALERT® STUDENT has plenty of scope to become even better. For example, the possibility to organize concepts according to subject matters would be a functionality of great interest that would allow students to contextualize their academic path, understand the already studied issues and the ones remaining to be studied, easily find concepts of greater interest, in a word, to successfully orient studying. Another very interesting functionality would be the possibility of comparing concepts and thus being able to easily consolidate knowledge, which we have been studying for so long and that sometimes we so quickly forget. I am sure that the advantages brought from using this tool will soon be understood by students in Medicine faculties everywhere and they will begin to use ALERT® STUDENT on a daily basis and as their main study tool. Such a platform will, no doubt, enable students to be successful during their degree and be able to benefit from a high level of professional training.