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
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
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
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