A picture is worth a thousand words: practical use of videotape in teaching

J Gen Intern Med. 2000 Nov;15(11):805-10. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2000.05129.x.


Videotapes, through vividly displayed clinical images and teaching interactions, are valuable tools for both learners and teachers. Visual images in combination with verbal instruction have been shown to significantly increase recall and retention. Many clinicians and medical teachers are aware of videotape resources, but have not had a chance to develop their use in medical education. In this paper, we discuss creative applications of videotapes in three major categories: presenting information, triggering discussion, and as a tool for direct self-observation and feedback. Videotapes may be valuable for presenting information in settings of didactic instruction; for triggering discussion during teaching workshops; and for self-observation of patient-doctor interactions and learner-teacher encounters. The article presents learner-centered approaches to review a videotaped clinical encounter in order to enhance value and comfort for the learner and teacher. Sources of tapes include on-site videotaping, published educational tapes and commercial tapes shown in accordance with fair use guidelines, examples of which are referenced. Videotapes add another dimension to traditional sources of physician education.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Teaching / methods*
  • Video Recording*