Capturing the wisdom of the crowd: health professions' educators meet at a virtual world cafe: health professions' educators meet at a virtual world café

Judy McKimm, Subha Ramani, Rashmi A Kusurkar, Alice Fornari, Vishna Devi Nadarajah, Harish Thampy, Helena P Filipe, Elizabeth K Kachur, Richard Hays

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BACKGROUND: Conversations about educational challenges and potential solutions among a globally and culturally diverse group of health professions' educators can facilitate identity formation, mentoring relationships and professional network building. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more important to co-create and disseminate knowledge, specifically regarding online and flexible learning formats.

APPROACH: Based on the principles of social learning, we combined speed mentoring and world café formats to offer a virtual Zoom™ workshop, with large and small group discussions, to reach health professions' educators across the globe. The goal was to establish a psychologically safe space for dialogue regarding adaptation to online teaching-learning formats.

EVALUATION: We aimed to establish psychological safety to stimulate thought-provoking discussions within the various small groups and obtain valuable contributions from participants. From these conversations, we were able to formulate 'hot tips' on how to adapt to (sometimes new) online teaching-learning formats while nurturing teacher and student wellbeing.

REFLECTION: Through this virtual workshop we realized that despite contextual differences, many challenges are common worldwide. We experienced technological difficulties during the session, which needed rapid adaptation by the organising team. We encouraged, but did not pressure, participants to use video and audio during breakout discussions as we wanted them to feel safe and comfortable. The large audience size and different time zones were challenging; therefore, leadership had to be resilient and focussed. Although this virtual format was triggered by the pandemic, the format can be continued in the future to discuss other relevant global education topics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-390
Number of pages6
JournalPerspectives on medical education
Issue number6
Early online date13 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2020


  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • COVID-19
  • Communication
  • Congresses as Topic
  • Education, Distance/methods
  • Education, Professional/methods
  • Health Occupations/education
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Mentoring
  • Teaching


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