Use of learning media by undergraduate medical students in pharmacology:A prospective cohort study

Joanna Gutmann, Felizian Kühbeck, Pascal O. Berberat, Martin R. Fischer, Stefan Engelhardt, Antonio Sarikas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The ubiquity of the internet and computer-based technologies has an increasing impact on higher education and the way students access information for learning. Moreover, there is a paucity of information about the quantitative and qualitative use of learning media by the current student generation. In this study we systematically analyzed the use of digital and non-digital learning resources by undergraduate medical students. Daily online surveys and semi-structured interviews were conducted with a cohort of 338 third year medical students enrolled in a general pharmacology course. Our data demonstrate a predominant use of digital over non-digital learning resources (69 ± 7% vs. 31 ± 7%; p < 0.01) by students. Most used media for learning were lecture slides (26.8 ± 3.0%), apps (22.0 ± 3.7%) and personal notes (15.5 ± 2.7%), followed by textbooks (> 300 pages) (10.6 ± 3.3%), internet search (7.9 ± 1.6%) and e-learning cases (7.6 ± 3.0%). When comparing learning media use of teaching vs. pre-exam self-study periods, textbooks were used significantly less during selfstudy (-55%; p < 0.01), while exam questions (+334%; p < 0.01) and e-learning cases (+176%; p < 0.01) were utilized more. Taken together, our study revealed a high prevalence and acceptance of digital learning resources by undergraduate medical students, in particular mobile applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere122624
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
StatePublished - 7 Apr 2015


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