Is It Live Or Is It Podcast?

Lectures Don’t stop lecturing yet.  Although this study shows that podcasts are as effective a teaching method as live lectures, the majority of students preferred live interaction with faculty.  Medical education has been increasingly incorporating various types of technologies into undergraduate education.  This study, conducted at the University of Ottawa, explored some differences between two modalities of delivering medical school material; live lectures verses recorded podcasts.  Third year students (n=148) had a one week Otolaryngology-Head&Neck Surgery (OTO-HNS) rotation which included three OTO-HNS lectures.  Students were randomly placed into two groups; one had live lectures (n=73) and the other only podcasts of the lectures, consisting of the same lecture material with the same lecturer (n=75).  The authors compared the two groups with respect to three outcomes; performance on a written exam, performance on an OTO-HNS OSCE station, and a student satisfaction survey.  While both cohorts of students preformed similarly on the written exam (78.4 for the live lecture group and 79.2 for the podcast group), the podcast group outperformed the live lecture group in the OSCEs 14.0/19 compared to 12.5/19.  The student satisfaction survey showed an 88% neutral or positive response to the webcasts.  64% of the podcast cohort responded favorably to the fact that the webcasts can be viewed multiple times.  However, 69% of the podcast group noted that there was a need for live interaction between lecturers and students. Podcasts are seen as beneficial tools for reviewing lectures multiple times or for remote learning, as long as time was factored in for live interaction between faculty and students.  –Lee Ann Schein, Ph.D.

Vaccani, Jean-Philippe, Javidnia, Hedyeh , Susan, Humphrey-Murto, The Effectiveness of Webcast Compared to Live Lectures as a Teaching Tool in Medical School, Medical Teacher 2016, 38: 59–63

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