The Hidden Curriculum of Utilisation of Imaging and Unregulated Digital Resources within Clinical Education

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2020;1235:145-163. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-37639-0_9.


Clinical education has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. The increasing use of imaging and visualisation technologies within medical, dental and other healthcare sciences education curricula is taken for granted, with little consideration given to the agenda behind the colonisation of the basic sciences curricula with these technologies or their ultimate utility with regards to patient care. Sufficient critique is rarely given prior to the incorporation of imaging modalities into teaching and learning, and the hidden curriculum remains deeply buried under the impetus to 'move with the times'. Coupled with increasingly easily accessible but unregulated streamed digital teaching resources widely utilised in healthcare professions' curricula, there remains a danger that future generations of clinicians may be exposed to erroneous information that could ultimately impact on the safety of their patients. Educators must develop a reflective approach, and together with institutions develop a collective responsibility to integrate and map evidence-based and clinically-relevant approaches within the respective curricula, rather than bombard undergraduates with the latest technology and never-ending (and sometimes unreliable and unregulated) information without awareness of the potential dangers lurking within their preferred teaching methods and ideologies. Healthcare professionals must subject teaching resources utilised within their curricula to the same scrutiny that textbooks undergo, with content accuracy and endorsement via reputable sources, preferably peer reviewed and traceable, taking precedence.

Keywords: Education; Healthcare education; Hidden curriculum; Learners; Medical education; Pedagogy; Social media; Students; Teaching resources; Technology-enhanced learning; Unregulated resources.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Medicine / education*
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Learning