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Better Learning from Podcasts

November 19, 2020

Written by Carmen Wolfe

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When interpolated questions were added to a podcast created for this RCT, knowledge retention scores modestly improved.

Why does this matter?
Podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular way that emergency physicians consume medical education materials, but the potential for distracted listening may decrease its effectiveness. Could podcast creators use interpolated questions to more effectively capture the attention of listeners and create lasting knowledge retention?

What was that again?
Podcast education allows us to multitask – learning while we commute to work, fold laundry, or prep dinner.  But do we really remember what we hear? Researchers randomized residents to listen to a podcast with or without interpolated questions and then administered an immediate posttest as well as a retention test after a few weeks. While no significant difference was found on immediate posttest, the retention test showed improved scores for the group with interpolated questions. Unsurprisingly, the greatest gains were seen when test materials directly covered information related to the interpolated questions. The gains were modest, but why not add in a few questions if you’re recording a podcast to help capture the attention of listeners?

Weinstock M, Pallaci M, Aluisio AR, Cooper B, Gottlieb D, Grock A, Frye A, Love JN, Orman R, Riddell J. Effect of Interpolated Questions on Podcast Knowledge Acquisition and Retention: A Double-Blind, Multicenter, Randomized Controlled Trial. Ann Emerg Med. 2020 Sep;76(3):353-361. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2020.01.021. Epub 2020 Apr 18.

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What are your thoughts?