Podcast Use in Undergraduate Medical Education
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Introduction Podcasts have become increasingly popular as a medium for free open access medical education (FOAM). However, little research has examined the use of these extracurricular audio podcasts as tools in undergraduate medical education. We aimed to examine knowledge retention, usage conditions, and preferences of undergraduate medical students at a Canadian university interacting with extracurricular podcasts. Methods Students enrolled in the undergraduate medical program at McMaster University volunteered to participate in this study. Two podcasts were created specifically for the purposes of this study, and online tests and surveys were sent to participants to gather data regarding user preferences of podcasts. In addition, we recorded changes in topic test scores before and after podcast exposure. Results Forty-two students were recruited to this study. Participants who completed the assessments demonstrated an effect of learning. Podcasts of 30 minutes or less were preferred in the majority of participants who had a preference in duration. The top three activities participants were engaged in while listening to the podcasts were driving (46%), completing chores (26%), and exercising (23%). A large number of participants who did not complete the study in its entirety cited a lack of time and podcast length to be the top two barriers to completion. Conclusion This is one of the first studies to examine extracurricular podcast-usage data and preferences in a Canadian undergraduate medical student population. This information may help educators and FOAM producers to optimize educational tools for medical education.