Video podcasts not ready to replace lectures

This disappointing result is recently published online at BMC medical education. Teachers are eager to use new information technology to teach. When I’m doing a lecture at our Med School, these lectures are made to podcasts and posted on Blackboard. Together with the slides students can rehears or listen to the lecture after worths when not present. This is during undergraduate medical education. According to the multimedia learning theory these features, this multichannel learning, should enhance learning. A disadvantage to these new technologies is the lack of interaction between students and lecturer. This makes it impossible for the student to gauge understanding from nonverbal cues and indeed from questions. This can make the student less engaged and motivated.

Ths study was done in a cross over randomized controlled trial with two groups of 50 students.

Students were split into two groups. The first group attended a live lecture on arthritis and then a video podcast on vasculitis, while the second group attended a live lecture on vasculitis and then a video podcast on arthritis.

The students rated the videocast (podcast with slides) inferior to the lecture on content and presentation. The information recall didn’t differ between the video podcast and the live lecture.

Students appreciated the convenience and control over podcasts, but generally foundthem less engaging. They felt there was less motivation to learn with podcasts and that they were less likely to complete the teaching session.

Video podcasts can’t replace the old professor giving his live lecture, the students prefer those live lectures, they are more engaging and motivating. The video podcasts with slides is valued only as supplemental to the lecture, e.g. for rehearsal.

But what about also showing the professor with the slides. This was only tested in a small sample (12 medical students). Results didn’t differ but appreciation wasn’t measured. From previous research podcasts are generally more engaging than a textbook but less engaging than a live lecture.
Schreiber, B., Fukuta, J., & Gordon, F. (2010). Live lecture versus video podcast in undergraduate medical education: A randomised controlled trial BMC Medical Education, 10 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1472-6920-10-68