What is a non-profit limited liability organization and what does Instruct do?
Instruct is based in Germany and is registered as a gGmbH, which refers to a non-profit limited liability organization. Our aim is to give back to society and to pursue a purpose that has the common good in mind. Our main goal is to research, supplement and further develop education and training in medicine and healthcare through a case-based online learning system. The following statements define Instruct’s social mission and the not-for-profit goals that we are pursuing.
Instruct provides registered users a digital learning platform called CASUS. Our e-learning program is an internet-based software, which lets medical, dentistry and veterinary medicine students experience first-hand exposure to virtual patients and lets them practice their communication skills and the process of anamnesis, diagnosis and establishing treatment and therapy plans. As a non-profit organization, our aim is not only to set up and provide technical accessibility to an online learning platform, but also to research and implement the scientific basis of understanding different teaching, learning and communication processes. The aim is to further establish e-learning, especially in the field of medicine, and thus to help students learn more successfully through blended learning concepts. Case-based learning in a virtual setting enables students to make mistakes and to learn from these without endangering real patients. Decision-making processes and clinical reasoning are trained and committed to memory and support prospective and established doctors and medical professionals in their daily work during their studies and also in the clinics.
Not only students, but also teachers profit from regularly practicing these processes. CASUS enables professors and academics to construct the diagnostic decision-making process and explain it to their students by creating their own virtual patient cases. This ensures that students are guided through the clinical reasoning process and that this is continuously trained. In addition, teachers can monitor and support their participants’ progress.
Our web-based program is continually being advanced to improve the development, implementation and evaluation of tools and workflows for the planning, preparation, execution, evaluation and quality assurance of learning and examination formats. Authors and students will benefit from using CASUS and can consolidate their knowledge through a digital curriculum. We consult studies to find the most effective way to motivate students and to improve their learning success. These pedagogical and technologically advanced tools are implemented into our online learning system and result in innovative new learning formats. Our internal evaluations and learning analytics are the decisive factor in improving and further developing these formats.
CASUS was developed to supplement and support cross-faculty and cross-institutional curricula and training programs at an undergraduate, postgraduate and professional level. Medical students are immersed in high-quality, didactic case-based learning using virtual patient cases. These realistic and professional cases are written and edited by medical staff, academics and healthcare professionals and are published in a virtual setting where they can be worked on and studied interactively. Interdisciplinary expert collaborations make CASUS a comprehensive e-learning and Learning Management System (LMS) platform, which underscores curricula from various fields and supplements the advanced training of experienced doctors. CASUS was developed as a highly efficient system, in which universities, institutions and their authors can save time and resources by exchanging and sharing virtual patient cases amongst each other and thus, accumulate a widespread range of teaching cases. This exchange of knowledge gives students an all-encompassing collection of standardized and individualized cases, which will prepare them for a career in the healthcare sector
As a non-profit organization, we prioritize cooperation with other public and private non-profit organizations, especially as interdisciplinary work with reference to the aims set forth in our mission statements. We work together with national and international universities and institutions on projects that pursue similar social goals. The main focus thereby remains on our organization’s primary goal to promote medical education.
An important aspect of our company is to organize and conduct scientific congresses and to issue scientific publications. We work in close cooperation with universities, institutions and associations worldwide. As a partner in various EU-funded projects, we use the knowledge acquired from CASUS learning analytics concerning applicability and achieved learning success to further develop and rethink curricula and education. In the German Medical Science Journal for Medical Education we co-authored and published an article on the prevalent topic of blended learning, together with doctors and educators. The article reiterates our e-learning philosophy and the extent to which a case-based online learning system can advance medical education. Further articles on the topic of clinical reasoning and virtual patients have been published in various journals:
The endorsement of the organization’s goals and mission is maintained by granting scholarships and research assignments to third parties. Projects and research on e-learning in the medical professions are topics that are being driven globally at a very rapid pace. Accordingly, we rely on doctors, academics and healthcare professionals and make it a point to encourage their expertise on the subject matter.
Our philosophy is not limited to first-year students, but rather follows the principle of life-long learning. Established doctors, academics and healthcare professionals can benefit from the implementation of educational measures that pertain to the mission that our organization practices.
A separate academy for Continuing Medical Education (CME) was set up within the CASUS platform, which, in addition to the learning courses, is also used in the context of certified advanced medical training. With the CASUS CME Academy, we have developed a special learning environment in which doctors can receive CME credits after successful course participation and/or completing cases. We are also working on joint educational programs for other professions within the healthcare sector. In cooperation with Instand e.V., we facilitate advanced training programs and certification for doctors and laboratory workers. In veterinary medicine, we cooperate with the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies (ESAVS) and provide online learning modules and online examinations for advanced training purposes of veterinarians. These educational measures are created in the form of blended learning concepts and thus, consist of face-to-face seminars as well as online learning courses.
Instruct's roots lie in the academic world. In 1993, Prof. Martin Fischer founded a working group for computer-based training for undergraduate and continuing medical education at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. The focus of this interdisciplinary group was optimizing the learning experience using authentic cases and how such cases can help medical and healthcare students improve their decision-making skills. In 1994, the development of the CASUS virtual patient system began with the aim of developing an easy-to-use authoring system for educators and clinicians to create learning cases for their students.
The Instruct Corporation was founded in May 2000 and has gained continuous appraisal for its innovative concept. The Bavarian Ministry of Economics successfully promoted the establishment of Instruct within the scope of the “FLÜGGE” program.