medskl.com, open-access, online medical learning resource launched today, saying “No matter where they are, the next generation of physicians will now be able to learn from the best medical professors in the world for free.”

A Canadian innovation, medskl.com is a new way of teaching medicine – and promises to make medical education more accessible and more effective. The site uses video lectures, white-board animations and summary notes to help students and doctors diagnose and treat a broad range of illnesses.

Sanjay Sharma, MD, a retina specialist and professor of ophthalmology and epidemiology at Queen's University, came up with the concept after recognizing that traditional medical lectures were not the ideal learning environment for digital natives. "Today's students are attuned to learning online, not sitting through long didactic lectures," he says.

Sharma and his team spent two years reaching out to medical schools and students across North America to identify the best professors to be involved in the project. So far, more than 170 professors have been recruited to author the content, drawn from such Canadian centres as the University of Toronto, Queen's University, McGill University, Dalhousie University and the University of British Columbia, and in the United States from Harvard, Stanford and Yale Universities; Johns Hopkins; and the Mayo Clinic.

"The lessons are designed to be short, fun and engaging so the information sticks," Sharma says. The learning modules are also meant to support the 'flipped classroom' approach now being used in many leading North American medical schools where students learn material outside the classroom and use lecture time for discussion. Some 100 modules have been created so far, and approximately another 100 modules are to be added in the next few months.

Since the soft launch of medskl.com in July, students from more than 50 universities have already registered. Most Canadian medical schools will start using medskl.com content this Fall. In the U.S., Yale, Johns Hopkins, and Duke will be incorporating medskl.com into their medical curriculums this year.

"Our goal is to bring this information to a global audience, and medskl.com now makes it possible. Medical students, caregivers and patients – whether they're located in Toronto, Lagos, Mumbai or anywhere else – can now learn from the best professors and the most effective educational resources."

Because medskl.com is available anywhere there is an internet connection, it will help remove barriers to medical education throughout the world.

For more information, or to view the learning modules, go to medskl.com.