Video-based, student tutor- versus faculty staff-led ultrasound course for medical students - a prospective randomized study

Background

Ultrasound education is propagated already during medical school due to its diagnostic importance. Courses are usually supervised by experienced faculty staff (FS) with patient bedside examinations or students among each other but often overbooked due to limited FS availability. To overcome this barrier, use of teaching videos may be advantageous. Likewise, peer teaching concepts solely with trained student tutors have shown to be feasible and effective. The aim was to evaluate 1) objective learning outcomes of a combined video-based, student-tutor (ViST) as compared to a FS-led course without media support, 2) acceptance and subjective learning success of the videos.

Methods

Two ultrasound teaching videos for basic and advanced abdominal ultrasound (AU) and transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) were produced and six students trained as tutors. Fourth-year medical students (N = 96) were randomized to either the ViST- or FS course (6 students per tutor). Learning objectives were defined equally for both courses. Acquired practical basic and advanced ultrasound skills were tested in an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) using modified validated scoring sheets with a maximum total score of 40 points. Acceptance and subjective learning success of both videos were evaluated by questionnaires based on Kirkpatrick's evaluation model with scale-rated closed and open questions.

Results

79 of 96 medical students completed the OSCE and 77 could be finally analyzed. There was no significant difference in the mean total point score of 31.3 in the ViST (N = 42) and 32.7 in the FS course (N = 35, P = 0.31) or in any of the examined basic or advanced ultrasound skill subtasks. Of the 42 ViST participants, 29 completed the AU and 27 the TTE video questionnaire. Acceptance and subjective learning success of both videos was rated positively in 14-52% and 48-88% of the rated responses to each category, respectively. Attendance of either the student or faculty tutor was deemed necessary in addition to the videos.

Conclusions

A ViST versus FS teaching concept was able to effectively teach undergraduate students in AU and TTE, albeit acceptance of the teaching videos alone was limited. However, the ViST concept has the potential to increase course availability and FS resource allocation.

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