Twitter: an effective learning tool within medical education

Hennessy, Catherine, Smith, Claire, Turner, Denise and Ferns, Gordon (2017) Twitter: an effective learning tool within medical education. 4th European Conference of Social Media in Vilnius, Lithuania, 03-04 July 2017. Published in: Proceedings of The 4th European Conference on Social Media. Academic Conferences and Publishing ISSN 2055-7213 ISBN 9781911218463

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Educational social media platforms such as dedicated Facebook pages and Twitter hashtags are increasingly being used by anatomy educators as learning support tools with positive outcomes such as: increasing student engagement with the subject of anatomy, facilitating communication with educators and reducing student anxiety levels in the lead up to assessments by offering learning support information. There have been less reports on whether these platforms impact on student’s anatomy knowledge. One previous investigation demonstrated that the frequency of student engagement with a dedicated Twitter hashtag did not increase their exam scores, however the methodology did not provide specific learning feedback opportunities to students. Since then, Twitter introduced a polling tool. This project investigated whether the polling tool could effectively be used to deliver regular MCQ style questions (followed by feedback) to students and whether student’s use of this tool had an effect on exam scores. Second year medical students enrolled on the Musculoskeletal and Immunity Module 2015 (n=140) at Brighton Sussex Medical School were offered the #m204anatomy Twitter hashtag as a learning support tool which included weekly Twitter polls questioning student’s anatomy knowledge. Students were invited to complete a questionnaire asking whether they had answered Twitter polls and for consent to use their exam scores to compare against their use of the polls. Student opinions on the hashtag were also obtained during a focus group with five students. Ninety-three students successfully completed the questionnaire and gave consent. 62% of students didn’t used the Twitter polls and their mean anatomy exam score was 59.7%. 38% of students did answer the Twitter polls and their mean exam score was 67.2%, which showed to be significantly higher (p = 0.012) than those who did not use the Twitter polling tool. This indicates that the Twitter polling tool can be used as a formative assessment tool to enhance student anatomy knowledge. However, the majority of students are reluctant to engage with educational social media platforms and findings from this study indicate this is due to a fear that students will be identified as lacking knowledge and breaching professionalism guidelines.
Keywords: Social media, Twitter, Medical education, Professionalism, Learning experience

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Division of Medical Education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Elizabeth Renvoize
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2017 14:27
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2017 11:27

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