Use of Smart Phones and Social Media in Medical Education: Trends, Advantages, Challenges and Barriers


The technological advancements have transformed the society into a global forum influencing the educational processes and learning environments. Medical education is no exemption with an increasing trend to use the social media and smart phones for teaching and learning. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube and Edmodo are the platforms promoting collaborative learning, improved communication and knowledge sharing.


This study aims to review the use of smart phones and social media in the context of medical education. It reviews the usage of smart phone and social medical applications including Facebook, WhatsApp and Edmodo for teaching and learning in medical education.


The use of personal smartphones for teaching and learning among medical community is highly prevalent and increasing day by day. Medical students use the mobile application for online textbooks (70%), medical podcasts (60%), medical calculator (75%), online lecture (50%) and notes taking (45%). Relevant studies conclude that the majority of students use smart phones for education (62.7%), communication (81.7%) and recreation (82.5%). Social media has a great potential in educational setting and provide students a chance to involve, share and express knowledge and information with each other. Facebook, WhatsApp and Edmodo are the commonly used applications having multiple benefits like collaboration, feedback and engagement but negative aspects including addiction, distraction and maintenance of privacy have also been found.


The review article concludes that social media is a powerful instrument for social interactions and is also used as a tool for teaching and learning. The integration of social media with traditional class teaching in medical education has clear advantages but there is a debate about the probable disadvantages as well.