Back to Journals » Advances in Medical Education and Practice » Volume 8

Social media as an open-learning resource in medical education: current perspectives

Authors Sutherland S, Jalali A

Received 3 March 2017

Accepted for publication 7 May 2017

Published 8 June 2017 Volume 2017:8 Pages 369—375

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S112594

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Shakila Srikumar

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder


S Sutherland,1 A Jalali2

1Department of Critical Care, The Ottawa Hospital, ²Division of Clinical and Functional Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Purpose: Numerous studies evaluate the use of social media as an open-learning resource in education, but there is a little published knowledge of empirical evidence that such open-learning resources produce educative outcomes, particularly with regard to student performance. This study undertook a systematic review of the published literature in medical education to determine the state of the evidence as to empirical studies that conduct an evaluation or research regarding social media and open-learning resources.
Methods: The authors searched MEDLINE, ERIC, Embase, PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar from 2012 to 2017. This search included using keywords related to social media, medical education, research, and evaluation, while restricting the search to peer reviewed, English language articles only. To meet inclusion criteria, manuscripts had to employ evaluative methods and undertake empirical research.
Results: Empirical work designed to evaluate the impact of social media as an open-learning resource in medical education is limited as only 13 studies met inclusion criteria. The majority of these studies used undergraduate medical education as the backdrop to investigate open-learning resources, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. YouTube appears to have little educational value due to the unsupervised nature of content added on a daily basis. Overall, extant reviews have demonstrated that we know a considerable amount about social media use, although to date, its impacts remain unclear.
Conclusion: There is a paucity of outcome-based, empirical studies assessing the impact of social media in medical education. The few empirical studies identified tend to focus on evaluating the affective outcomes of social media and medical education as opposed to understanding any linkages between social media and performance outcomes. Given the potential for social media use in medical education, more empirical evaluative studies are required to determine educational value.

Keywords: social media, Facebook, YouTube, medical education, evaluation

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]