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Medical online platforms as cognitive interfaces: The impact of individual and technological features on learning and processing of complex medical information

Project description

Patients and medically interested laypeople use online platforms to acquire knowledge about diseases and medical treatments. These online sources offer a broad range of information that differs in quality and comprehensiveness. A presentation format that is particularly suitable for representing the complexity of medical content are educational videos about medical interventions.


As part of the Leibniz ScienceCampus the project “Medical online platforms as cognitive interfaces” aims to investigate how the content of a medical online platform can be used by laypeople to process complex medical information and to make informed decisions about possible treatments. Video clips from the medical online platform Sectio Chirurgica will be used as study material. These videos teach clinical knowledge and anatomical skills by showing surgeries on body donors. It will be investigated how individual differences between the users as well as the design of the platform affect the way medical laypeople process the presented information. The study program takes into account the impact of individual factors like prior knowledge, personal relevance of the information, perceived thread, or prior opinion toward the medical intervention, as well as technological aspects like navigational options on the online platform, the availability of background information, and the opportunity to interact with other users. These factors will be varied systematically in the studies to investigate the effects on learning, interest in further information, and the attitude toward the shown intervention. In addition, people‘s satisfaction with the learning process and their assessment of the usability of the platform will be obtained.


The research project aims to evaluate the potential and the barriers of medical videos for imparting complex health-related information. Such videos may be used to educate patients or relatives, to alleviate patients’ fears of an intervention, or to help them coming to an autonomous decision in favor or against an intervention.

Project Team