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      Short-duration podcasts as a supplementary learning tool: perceptions of medical students and impact on assessment performance

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          Use of podcasts has several advantages in medical education. Podcasts can be of different types based on their length: short (1–5 min), moderate (6–15 min) and long (>15 min) duration. Short-duration podcasts are unique since they can deliver high-yield information in a short time. The perceptions of medical students towards short-duration podcasts are not well understood and this study aimed to analyze the same. An exploratory analysis of students’ podcast usage and performance in summative assessments was also undertaken.


          First-year medical students ( N = 94) participated in the study. Eight audiovisual podcasts, each ≤3 min duration (3- Minu Te Lessons; 3MTLs) were developed for two topics in biochemistry. The podcasts were made available for students after didactic lectures on the topics. Feedback was collected from students about their perceptions to 3MTLs using a self-reported questionnaire. The scores of students in summative assessments were compared based on their usage of 3MTLs.


          Feedback revealed that 3MTLs were well received by students as a useful and convenient supplementary tool. Students used 3MTLs for topic review, to get an overview, as well as for quick revision and felt that 3MTLs were helpful in improving their understanding of the topic, clarify concepts and focus on important points and in turn, in preparation for assessments. A significant proportion (49%) felt that 3-min duration was optimal while, an equal proportion suggested an increase in the duration to 5 min with more information. The overall mean scores in assessments were not different between students based on 3MTLs usage. The pairwise comparisons revealed better scores amongst students who used 3MTLs for both topics.


          Overall, short-duration podcasts were perceived by students as useful supplementary learning tools that aided them for revision and in preparation for assessments.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1186/s12909-017-1001-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 56

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               Chris Evans (2008)

                Author and article information

                ISNI 0000 0004 1767 8969, GRID grid.11586.3b, Department of Biochemistry, , Christian Medical College, ; Vellore, Tamil Nadu 632002 India
                ORCID:, +91-416-2284267 , ,
                BMC Med Educ
                BMC Med Educ
                BMC Medical Education
                BioMed Central (London )
                18 September 2017
                18 September 2017
                : 17
                © The Author(s). 2017

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                © The Author(s) 2017


                medical students, undergraduate medical education, webcasts, podcasts, biochemistry


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