Leveraging time and learning style, iPod vs. realtime attendance at a series of medicine residents conferences: a randomised controlled trial

Inform Prim Care. 2009;17(2):87-94. doi: 10.14236/jhi.v17i2.720.


Objective: To determine whether participation in educational conferences utilising iPod technology enhances both medical knowledge and accessibility to educational content among medical residents in training.

Design/measurements: In May 2007, the authors led a randomised controlled study involving 30 internal medicine residents who volunteered either to attend five midday educational conferences or to use an iPod audio/video recording of the same conferences, each followed by a five-question competency quiz. Primary outcomes included quantitative assessment of knowledge acquisition and qualitative assessment of resident perception of ease of use. Secondary outcomes included resident perception of self-directed learning.

Results: At baseline, residents reported attendance at 50% of educational conferences. Of iPod participants, 46.7% previously used an iPod. During the study, 46-60% of conference attendees were paged out of each conference, of whom between 6 and 33% missed more than half of the conference. The quiz completion rate was 93%. Key findings were: 1) similar quiz scores were achieved by conference attendees, mean 60.7% (95% CI; 53.0-68.3%), compared to the iPod user group, mean 67.6% (95% CI; 61%-74.1%), and 2) the majority (10/15, 66.6%) of conference attendees stated they would probably benefit from the option to refer back to conferences for content review and educational purposes.

Conclusions: Residency training programmes can optimise time management strategies with the integration of innovative learning resources into educational curricula. This study suggests that iPod capture of conferences is a reasonable resource to help meet the educational goals of residents and residency programs.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Behavior
  • Educational Measurement
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency / methods*
  • Learning*
  • MP3-Player*
  • Teaching / methods*