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AAMC 2014: Khan Academy takes Medical Education Online


Founded by Salman Khan in 2006, Khan Academy is a non-profit provider of online educational resources for many topics. About 18 months ago, and with insight from the 2012 AAMC annual meeting, Khan Academy began assembling content to help pre-med students prepare for MCAT2015.

Today the collection has about 600 videos covering the content of the new MCAT. But the Academy’s program lead for medical partnerships, Rishi Desai, M.D., MPH, wants to clear something up. The point of the MCAT videos is not to help students nail the MCAT. The point is to help them nail the content. That’s why quality and clarity are so important to Khan Academy’s approach to content creation.

Content for the MCAT videos was born, in-part, out of a student competition for videos. Winners were invited to come and make teaching videos and other content for the Khan Academy. That content was then (and continues to be) vetted by experts.

Khan Academy content undergoes a process of constant improvement. Clarification, focused feedback, qualitative feedback, and usage data inform content changes constantly.

To date, there are about 1 million views per month of MCAT related content, which Desai and content creator Raja Narayan, MPH, point out are useful beyond test preparation.

“Health and Medicine content can boost education throughout the health continuum,” Desai says.

Other uses include their application in medical school curriculum and even patient education.

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By: Aaron Lovell

Aaron Lovell is a communications specialist for University of Utah Health Sciences.