Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The use of online social networks in medical education can remodel and enhance anatomy teaching and learning; one such network is the video-sharing site YouTube. Limited research in the literature exists on the use of YouTube as a platform for anatomy education. The aim of this study is to assess student's perceptions and patterns of usage of this resource, as well as the effectiveness of YouTube videos within a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum. The study was conducted on 91 second-year medical students for whom video links were suggested throughout the academic year. In addition, the Human Anatomy Education (HAE) Channel was launched on YouTube to support classroom teaching with videos that emphasized applied aspects of anatomy. The results demonstrated that 98% of the students used YouTube as an online information resource, albeit in different frequencies. Out of the 86% who have been to the HAE Channel, 92% agreed/strongly agreed that the channel helped them learn anatomy. The study also reports the popularity of and awareness about using YouTube as a social network as well as in learning. Based on these findings, YouTube can be considered as an effective tool to enhance anatomy instruction if the videos are scrutinized, diversified, and aimed toward course objectives. Faculty of average computer literacy should be enabled to produce videos on their own YouTube channels to support independent learning and integration in a PBL curriculum. The methods described for capturing and editing the videos can be used as a prototype.