Brain development, mental health and addiction: a podcast series for undergraduate medical education

Colla J. MacDonald (Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Hugh Kellam (Ontario Telemedicine Network, Ottawa, Canada)
Catherine Peirce (The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, Ottawa, Canada)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 16 September 2013



The purpose of this paper is to describe the process of developing the early brain and biological development and addictions podcast series for first and second year medical students. This paper also presents the findings from an evaluation of the introductory podcast in this series of 13 podcasts.


Three focus groups were held with a total of 19 participants representing ten universities across Canada as well as one college and one foundation. Each focus group was audiotaped and then transcribed verbatim. The coding process consisted of grouping the common codes together to form themes based on the W(e)Learn framework.


Findings suggested that most participants were enthusiastic regarding the potential of the podcast project not only for the intended audience but also for all medical students and residents as well as continuous healthcare education. However, findings also suggest that other participants were not as fervent about the potential of the program. Many participants provided suggestions for how to further improve the podcast. These suggestions have already been implemented into the program design in an attempt to meet end-users' needs and expectations.


This research shares an innovative approach to supporting healthcare education in undergraduate education. Podcasting has become a cost-effective and convenient pedagogical tool for distributing educational information. Podcasts are effective teaching tools since listening is an active, engaging and creative process on interpreting content and creating meaning from auditory cues.



J. MacDonald, C., Kellam, H. and Peirce, C. (2013), "Brain development, mental health and addiction: a podcast series for undergraduate medical education", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 172-193.

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