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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2019 Mar 12:1-8. doi: 10.2214/AJR.18.20381. [Epub ahead of print]

Medical Students' and Family Physicians' Attitudes and Perceptions Toward Radiology Learning in the Second Life Virtual World.

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1 Department of Radiology and Physical Medicine, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Málaga, Bvd Luis Pasteur 32, 29071, Málaga, Spain.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate 3rd-year medical students' attitudes and perceptions toward a radiographic interpretation course inside the virtual world Second Life during their formal training in radiology and to compare their attitudes and perceptions with those of family physicians exposed to the same course.


Forty-eight 3rd-year medical students voluntarily participated in a 3-week course held in Second Life during a 4-month course on general radiology. The course consisted of six 2-hour synchronous sessions and four asynchronous tasks. Fourteen family physicians voluntarily participated in a specific version of the same course. Participants completed an evaluation questionnaire about the project.


All participants rated the experience positively and found the environment attractive and the initiative, the course, and the intervention of the professor interesting, adequate, and appropriate for their medical training (mean values ≥ 4.2/5). Participants reported little previous knowledge about Second Life but were willing to participate in future similar experiences. Family physicians self-rated their own participation as less active and rated lower interaction with their peers than did the medical students (p = 0.018 and p < 0.001).


The combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous tasks to learn radiographic interpretation in Second Life was well received by undergraduate and postgraduate attendees, who had positive opinions and attitudes; the virtual sessions and tasks minimized the costs of travel for learners and teachers, making their use financially effective. Participants perceived Second Life as an interesting and useful online tool for complementary undergraduate radiology learning and postgraduate continuing medical education.


postgraduate education; practical training; radiology; undergraduate education; virtual worlds


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