Open Access Research article

Nervous system examination on YouTube

Samy A Azer1*, Sarah M AlEshaiwi2, Hala A AlGrain1 and Rana A AlKhelaif1

Author Affiliations

1 Professor Medical Education and Chair of Curriculum Development & Research Unit, College of Medicine, King Saud University, P O Box 2925, Riyadh, 11461, Saudi Arabia

2 Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, P O Box 2925, Riyadh, 11461, Saudi Arabia

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BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:126  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-126

Published: 22 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Web 2.0 sites such as YouTube have become a useful resource for knowledge and are used by medical students as a learning resource. This study aimed at assessing videos covering the nervous system examination on YouTube.

Methods

A research of YouTube was conducted from 2 November to 2 December 2011 using the following key words “nervous system examination”, “nervous system clinical examination”, “cranial nerves examination”, “CNS examination”, “examination of cerebellum”, “balance and coordination examination”. Only relevant videos in the English language were identified and related URL recorded. For each video, the following information was collected: title, author/s, duration, number of viewers, number of posted comments, and total number of days on YouTube. Using criteria comprising content, technical authority and pedagogy parameters, videos were rated independently by three assessors and grouped into educationally useful and non-educationally useful.

Results

A total of 2240 videos were screened; 129 were found to have relevant information to nervous system examination. Analysis revealed that 61 (47%) of the videos provided useful information on the nervous system examination. These videos scored (mean ± SD, 14.9 ± 0.2) and mainly covered examination of the whole nervous system (8 videos, 13%), cranial nerves (42 videos, 69%), upper limbs (6 videos, 10%), lower limbs (3 videos, 5%), balance and co-ordination (2 videos, 3%). The other 68 (53%) videos were not useful educationally; scoring (mean ± SD, 11.1 ± 3.0). The total viewers of all videos was 2,189,434. Useful videos were viewed by 1,050,445 viewers (48% of total viewers). The total viewership per day for useful videos was 1,794.5 and for non-useful videos 1,132.0. The differences between the three assessors were insignificant (less than 0.5 for the mean and 0.3 for the SD).

Conclusions

Currently, YouTube provides an adequate resource for learning nervous system examination, which can be used by medical students. However, there were deficiencies in videos covering examination of the cerebellum and balance system. Useful videos can be used as learning resources to medical students.

Keywords:
YouTube; Medical education; Nervous system examination; Web-2; Learning resources