Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Design and Evaluation of Video Podcasts for Providing Online Feedback on Formative Pharmaceutical Calculations Assessments

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Design and Evaluation of Video Podcasts for Providing Online Feedback on Formative Pharmaceutical Calculations Assessments

Article excerpt


Proficiency in completing pharmaceutical calculations is a core competency for health professionals as errors can compromise patient safety. (1,2) This brief evaluated the potential of video podcasts as a novel method of providing feedback on a formative assessment of pharmaceutical calculations to final year pharmacy students enrolled in the National Pharmacy Internship Programme (NPIP) in the Republic of Ireland--a workplace-based program with academic content primarily delivered and formatively assessed online. Delivery of educational material online requires reconsideration of traditional methods of assessment and feedback, and video podcasts are an option relevant to calculations. (3) Video podcasts based on the principles of Mayer's cognitive theory of multimedia learning (4) were designed as a novel method to provide feedback on a formative calculation assessment. We evaluated this approach and compared it to standard written solutions.

Podcasts are media (audio) files that are distributed via the Internet for use on personal computers and portable media devices. The term originally referred to audio files played on the iPod (Apple Inc., Cupertino, CA) portable media device. (5) Further development has led to the use of video podcasts (sometimes referred to as vodcasts), which combine audio and visual outputs. These have been used extensively in educational settings and have shown to have a positive impact on the student learning experience, and the application of video podcasts as a method of providing feedback has been considered an area of potential future benefit to learners. (6-8) In several studies, "worked example" video podcasts are described as a beneficial way of presenting complex material. (9,10) "Worked example" video podcasts are multimedia clips used to explain problems, articulate reasoning and assist students in learning how to solve specific problems. The benefit of worked examples has been reported in disciplines such as mathematics, science and engineering, although none have been reported specifically relating to pharmaceutical calculations. (11,12) This study provides an overview of the steps taken in design and evaluation of the feedback.


NPIP students (n=162) were provided with a formative 20-item multiple-choice question (MCQ) assessment delivered via the virtual learning environment (VLE) in 2012/2013. Two kinds of feedback were developed and made available to all students. MCQs were separated into two groups of 10 questions, one group for video podcast feedback and the other for written solutions. Each group had questions of comparable difficulty level as determined using the item analysis and a difficulty ranking score ranging between 1 (0% to 20% achieving the correct answer) and 5 (81% to100% achieving the correct answer).

For the podcast group, 10 individual video podcasts were developed using Jing software (TechSmith, Okemos, MI), which enables simultaneous screencast and audio recordings of up to 5 minutes. A Bamboo digital stylus pen and tablet (Wacom, Kazo, Saitama Prefecture, Japan) were used to digitize and record handwritten solutions to each calculation--facilitating optimal synchronization between audio and visual materials in line with multimedia learning principles. (4) Each video podcast took 30-45 minutes to develop and ranged in length from 2 to 5 minutes with a mean of 3 minutes. The written solution feedback was prepared using Power-Point (Microsoft, Redmond, WA), here each step in the calculation was typed and there was no audio explanation. Both kinds of feedback were made available at the same time.

Evaluation was performed for both methods using a repeated measures design. Here, all students completed the evaluation of both types of feedback rather than allocating the students to groups receiving one feedback type only. A mixed methods survey was developed to evaluate the video podcasts. …

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