Tweets to put Students in the Driver’s Seat: A Systematic Review of Twitter in Medical Education

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  • Background Social media has transformed communication and information dissemination. Despite its almost ubiquitous use among students, its impact on medical education (ME) is less clear. Among social media platforms, Twitter facilitates active participation, fosters concise discussions, may be used for asynchronous learning, and provides real-time feedback. However, some instructors question the use of Twitter as a sound pedagogical tool that builds meaningful knowledge for medical students. Methods A systematic review of the literature was conducted to identify Twitter’s use in UGME and PGME. The authors searched Medline, Embase, Cochrane, ERIC, CINAHL, and Scopus. A data extraction form identified the type of medical students, level of instruction (categorized by Bloom’s Taxonomy), how Twitter was used, subject discipline, and learning objectives. Results Database searches retrieved 772 articles, 340 titles/abstracts were screened, 92 full-text articles selected, and 18 articles included in the review. A preliminary analysis reveals that Twitter is not used successfully to build learning and knowledge for medical students. Many studies used Twitter as a supplementary activity or for distributing information. Most of the educational interventions did not appear to use educational theory in their construction and focused on the technology, rather than on how it can be used as an educational tool. Conclusion Despite high rates of social media usage by medical students and residents, there are few examples of Twitter as a successful tool for learning. However, Twitter is a new technology and with more time, there may be more examples documented of its successful use in ME.

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    Conference/Workshop Poster
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International