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Clin Teach. 2014 Jul;11(4):274-8. doi: 10.1111/tct.12139.

Evaluation of an online medical teaching forum.

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Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK.



Social media is increasingly being used for teaching and assessment. We describe the design and implementation of a Facebook© teaching forum for medical students, and evaluate its effectiveness.


A Facebook© teaching forum was set up in a London Hospital to assist with learning and assessment for undergraduate medical students. An independent online survey was used to collate their experiences. Accessibility to the forum, usefulness in stimulating peer-to-peer discussion and the use of weekly formative assessments were evaluated using a Likert scale.


In total, 91 per cent (n=68/75) of students who had Facebook© joined the teaching forum. The majority of students completed the questionnaire (n=39/68, 57%). All students visited the teaching forum group at least once a week. A significant proportion attempted all 10 question sets (n=16/39, 41%). Students felt more comfortable asking questions in the forum than in ward rounds and clinics (n=22/39, 56%). The general consensus was that Facebook© could be used for educational purposes, with just 5 per cent of students (n=2/39) thinking that Facebook© should only be used socially and with 92 per cent believing that the forum helped to achieve the learning objectives of the curriculum (n=36/39).


Facebook© provides a safe environment for learning and discussion amongst medical undergraduates undergoing their clinical attachments. Furthermore, through formative assessments set by a medical educator, it provides a useful revision tool for summative assessments and reinforces knowledge learned through conventional teaching methods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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