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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Residents’ Perceptions of Effective Features of Educational Podcasts


Introduction: Educational podcasts are used by emergency medicine (EM) trainees to supplementclinical learning and to foster a sense of connection to broader physician communities. Yet residents reportdifficulties remembering what they learned from listening, and the features of podcasts that residents findmost effective for learning remain poorly understood. Therefore, we sought to explore residents’ perceptionsof the design features of educational podcasts that they felt most effectively promoted learning.

Methods: We used a qualitative approach to explore EM trainees’ experiences with educational podcasts,focusing on design features that they found beneficial to their learning. We conducted 16 semi-structuredinterviews with residents from three institutions from March 2016–August 2017. Interview transcripts wereanalyzed line-by-line using constant comparison and organized into focused codes, conceptual categories,and then key themes.

Results: The five canons of classical rhetoric provided a framework for thematically grouping the disparatefeatures of podcasts that residents reported enhanced their learning. Specifically, they reported valuing thefollowing: 1) Invention: clinically relevant material presented from multiple perspectives with explicit learningpoints; 2) Arrangement: efficient communication; 3) Style: narrative incorporating humor and storytelling; 4)Memory: repetition of key content; and 5) Delivery: short episodes with good production quality.

Conclusion: This exploratory study describes features that residents perceived as effective for learning fromeducational podcasts and provides foundational guidance for ongoing research into the most effective waysto structure medical education podcasts.

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