Increasing numbers of medical schools are providing videos of lectures to their students. This study sought to analyze utilization of lecture videos by medical students in their basic science courses and to determine if student utilization was associated with performance on exams.
Streaming videos of lectures (n = 149) to first year and second year medical students (n = 284) were made available through a password-protected server. Server logs were analyzed over a 10-week period for both classes. For each lecture, the logs recorded time and location from which students accessed the file. A survey was administered at the end of the courses to obtain additional information about student use of the videos.
There was a wide disparity in the level of use of lecture videos by medical students with the majority of students accessing the lecture videos sparingly (60% of the students viewed less than 10% of the available videos. The anonymous student survey revealed that students tended to view the videos by themselves from home during weekends and prior to exams. Students who accessed lecture videos more frequently had significantly (p < 0.002) lower exam scores.
We conclude that videos of lectures are used by relatively few medical students and that individual use of videos is associated with the degree to which students are having difficulty with the subject matter.