Surgery 101: evaluating the use of podcasting in a general surgery clerkship

Med Teach. 2011;33(11):941-3. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.588975.


Background: Provision of learning resources online is rapidly becoming a feature of medical education.

Aims: This study set out to determine how medical students engaged in a 6-week clerkship in General Surgery would make use of a series of audio podcasts designed to meet their educational objectives.

Methods: Patterns of use and student learning styles were determined using an anonymous survey.

Results: Of the 112 students, 93 responded to the survey (83%); 68% of students reported listening to at least one podcast (average number: six). While students reported listening in a variety of time and places, the majority of students reported listening on a computer in dedicated study time. Of the listeners, 84% agreed the podcasts helped them learn core topics, and over 80% found the recordings interesting and engaging.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that podcasts are an acceptable learning resource for medical students engaged in a surgery clerkship, and can be integrated into existing study habits. We believe that podcasting can help us cater to busy students with a range of learning styles. We have also shown that a free online resource developed by one school can reach a global audience many times larger than its intended target: to date, the 'Surgery 101' podcast series has been downloaded more than 160,000 times worldwide.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Clinical Clerkship*
  • Data Collection
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Students, Medical
  • Webcasts as Topic / statistics & numerical data*