This pilot study conducted at the Peninsula Medical School is one of very few studies to compare the use of video podcasts to traditional learning resources for medical students.
We developed written handouts and video podcasts for three common ear, nose, and throat conditions; epistaxis, otitis media, and tonsillitis. Forty-one second-year students were recruited via email. Students completed a 60-item true or false statement test written by the senior author (20 questions per subject). Students were subsequently randomized to podcast or handouts. Students were able to access their resource via their unique university login on the university homepage and were given 3 weeks to use their resource. They then completed the same 60-item test.
Both podcasts and handouts demonstrated a statistically significant increase in student scores (podcasts mean increase in scores 4.7, P=0.004, 95% confidence interval =0.07). Handout mean increase in scores 5.3, P=0.015, 95% confidence interval =0.11). However, there was no significant difference (P=0.07) between the two, with the handout group scoring fractionally higher (podcasts average post-exposure score =37.3 vs handout 37.8) with a larger average improvement. A 5-point Likert scale questionnaire demonstrated that medical students enjoy using reusable learning objects such as podcasts and feel that they should be used more in their curriculum.
Podcasts are as good as traditional handouts in teaching second-year medical students three core ear, nose, and throat conditions and enhance their learning experience.