What is ILearnEM?

While there has been an explosion of high quality online educational media in the field of emergency medicine in the recent years, learners have a difficult time navigating the many websites to find resources that meet their current and evolving learning goals. ILearnEM aims to curate the highest quality and free learning resources available online (ie Free open access medical education or “FOAM”) to cover the fundamental topics in emergency medicine. As in a textbook, links to these resources will be systematically organized and is guided by the Priority Topics for the CCFP-EM list from which the licensing exam is based. Topics are further broken down into “approach to” and “beyond the basics” categories. Whether you are a medical student interested in EM, a new EM resident, a Family Medicine Practitioner working in a rural ED or wanting to challenge the Canadian EM licensing exam, or even an ER doc looking for a review of core topics, ILearnEM provides an organized curriculum for self-study.


How is quality determined for FOAM resources?

Thoma et al. have defined a Social Media Index (SMi), which attempts to give an indirect measure of quality for online educational resources. This index has the potential to be a stable and accessible indicator of impact of the various FOAMed websites. Please refer to for further information on score calculation.


The links in this site were curated by Alex Mungham (CCFP-EM resident), Andrea Lo (CCFP-EM resident – now EM Physician) and Hans Rosenberg (Emergency Physician at The Ottawa Hospitals) and were drawn from the top 50 scoring websites on the SMi. As there is not yet any evidence-based criteria for differentiating between high and low quality FOAM content, specific blog posts or podcasts were reviewed and chosen based on gestalt and guided by The Quality Checklists for Health Professions Blogs and Podcasts which can be found here:

This checklist was complied using a modified Delphi consensus by an international cohort of FOAM experts and health professional educators for quality indicators for blogs and podcasts used in medical education.

Reference: Isabelle N Colmers, Quinten S Paterson, Michelle Lin, Brent Thoma, Teresa M Chan, The Quality Checklists for Health Professions Blogs and Podcasts, The Winnower3:e144720.08769 (2015). DOI:10.15200/winn.144720.08769


Dr. Andrea Lo and Dr. Hans Rosenberg have also co-authored a paper that expands on previous descriptions of techniques to aggregate online educational resources, outlining four strategies to help learners navigate, evaluate, and contribute online. These strategies include:

  1. Cultivating digital mentors
  2. Browsing the most popular free open access medical education (FOAM) websites
  3. Using critical appraisal tools developed for FOAM
  4. Contributing new online content

The full article can be found at: