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FOAM and the Rhizome: Ebullient Connections

Technology is a double-edged sword.  It can enable us to cut our work in half — or double our efforts when we realize that we just made things too complicated.  As Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM) expands, will it end in an enormous singular burst in the face, or multiply into many tiny bubbles that lift our spirits?  We, as contributors and consumers, can brew our FOAM to taste.

In Challenges and Opportunities Facing Medical Education, Dr  Peter Densen of the University of Iowa sets the tone of the problem:

“It is estimated that the doubling time of medical knowledge in 1950 was 50 years; in 1980, 7 years; and in 2010, 3.5 years. In 2020 it is projected to be 0.2 years—just 73 days.”

Your time and energy are your only true fungible assets.  They are precious and can easily be misspent; any effort in efficiency is welcome.  As form follows function, the concept of rhizomatic learning can inform and inspire our daily doses of medical education, metered by time, titrated to effect.  Rhizomatic learning — the process of connecting various pieces of information, experience, and skill into a functioning, growing unit — is a useful construct in the individual’s ongoing educational development as well as a good structure for collaboration among individuals.


So, make those connections — allow yourself to meander through the rich fertile soil of the mind and sprout up towards the sparks of digital light that education on the web can provide.  This interconnectiveness tempers against the possibility of leaning only toward one bright light; by crowd-sourcing our educational endeavors, the feeble shoots naturally wilt away while the stronger stalks are nourished in the collective evidence and experience.

To that end, The Playbook and WikEM have joined forces to offer another level of connectivity (and convenience) to our comm150px-WikEM_app_Logounity.  Episodes will be cross-referenced with WikEM pages to help solidify associations and offer a deeper dive into the bubbly goodness that is FOAM.  Look for the WikEM icon at the bottom of our shownotes and the show’s link at the bottom of the WikEM page.

As always, please send us your comments, questions, and suggestions, to keep the connectivity flowing!