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ABSTRACT: Before your very eyes: the value and limitations of eye tracking in medical education

Medicine is a highly visual discipline. Physicians from many specialties constantly use visual information in diagnosis and treatment. However, they are often unable to explain how they use this information. Consequently, it is unclear how to train medical students in this visual processing. Eye tracking is a research technique that may offer answers to these open questions, as it enables researchers to investigate such visual processes directly by measuring eye movements. This may help researchers understand the processes that support or hinder a particular learning outcome.
In this article, we clarify the value and limitations of eye tracking for medical education researchers. For example, eye tracking can clarify how experience with medical images mediates diagnostic performance and how students engage with learning materials. Furthermore, eye tracking can also be used directly for training purposes by displaying eye movements of experts in medical images.
Eye movements reflect cognitive processes, but cognitive processes cannot be directly inferred from eye-tracking data. In order to interpret eye-tracking data properly, theoretical models must always be the basis for designing experiments as well as for analysing and interpreting eye-tracking data. The interpretation of eye-tracking data is further supported by sound experimental design and methodological triangulation.

via Before your very eyes: the value and limitations of eye tracking in medical education. – PubMed – NCBI.

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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