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Open Access Research article

A randomized trial comparing digital and live lecture formats [ISRCTN40455708

David J Solomon1*, Gary S Ferenchick2, Heather S Laird-Fick3 and Kevin Kavanaugh4

Author Affiliations

1 Office of Medical Education Research and Development and the Department of Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

2 Department of Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

3 Department of Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

4 MSU-Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies (MSU-KCMS), Michigan State University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2004, 4:27  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-4-27

Published: 29 November 2004

Abstract

Background

Medical education is increasingly being conducted in community-based teaching sites at diverse locations, making it difficult to provide a consistent curriculum. We conducted a randomized trial to assess whether students who viewed digital lectures would perform as well on a measure of cognitive knowledge as students who viewed live lectures. Students' perceptions of the digital lecture format and their opinion as whether a digital lecture format could serve as an adequate replacement for live lectures was also assessed.

Methods

Students were randomized to either attend a lecture series at our main campus or view digital versions of the same lectures at community-based teaching sites. Both groups completed the same examination based on the lectures, and the group viewing the digital lectures completed a feedback form on the digital format.

Results

There were no differences in performance as measured by means or average rank. Despite technical problems, the students who viewed the digital lectures overwhelmingly felt the digital lectures could replace live lectures.

Conclusions

This study provides preliminary evidence digital lectures can be a viable alternative to live lectures as a means of delivering didactic presentations in a community-based setting.