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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Live lecture versus video podcast in undergraduate medical education: A randomised controlled trial

Benjamin E Schreiber1*, Junaid Fukuta2 and Fabiana Gordon3

Author Affiliations

1 Rheumatology Department, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, London, UK

2 Care of the Elderly, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK

3 Statistical Advisory Service, Imperial College, London, UK

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:68  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-68

Published: 8 October 2010



Information technology is finding an increasing role in the training of medical students. We compared information recall and student experience and preference after live lectures and video podcasts in undergraduate medical education.


We performed a crossover randomised controlled trial. 100 students were randomised to live lecture or video podcast for one clinical topic. Live lectures were given by the same instructor as the narrator of the video podcasts. The video podcasts comprised Powerpointâ„¢ slides narrated using the same script as the lecture. They were then switched to the other group for a second clinical topic. Knowledge was assessed using multiple choice questions and qualitative information was collected using a questionnaire.


No significant difference was found on multiple choice questioning immediately after the session. The subjects enjoyed the convenience of the video podcast and the ability to stop, review and repeat it, but found it less engaging as a teaching method. They expressed a clear preference for the live lecture format.


We suggest that video podcasts are not ready to replace traditional teaching methods, but may have an important role in reinforcing learning and aiding revision.