ABSTRACT: How we used two social media tools to enhance aspects of active learning during lectures.
Background: Medical education is evolving to include active learning approaches, yet some courses will remain lecture-based. Social media tools used by students may foster collaborative learning during lectures. Aim: We present preliminary results from a pilot study that integrated two social technologies, Google Docs and SurveyMonkey, into 22 hour-long lectures for a course called “Social Influences on Health” attended by 154 students. Methods: At the conclusion of the semester, we reviewed student usage patterns with both technologies and collected data from students via course evaluations that included a standard Likert Scale. We used thematic analysis to identify emergent themes from evaluations. Results: On average, students contributed 6 comments/questions to the Google Doc in each lecture, and 35 students participated in SurveyMonkey. Engagement with both technologies increased throughout the semester and no unprofessional incidents were observed. The mean student rating for integration of Google Docs and SurveyMonkey was 3.4 or “above average” SD = 1.17. Thematic analysis identified perceived strengths of this approach as well as areas for improvement. Conclusions: Social media such as Google Docs and SurveyMonkey can facilitate interaction and provide students with control over content and flow of lecture-based courses, but educators must be mindful of practical and conceptual limitations.