Medical students’ views on the use of video technology in the teaching of isiZulu communication, language skills and cultural competence

Paula Diab, Margaret Matthews, Roshni Gokool


The role of communicator has been included as a key competency for health science students in South Africa. Owing to the population’s diverse language and cultural backgrounds, communication between patients and healthcare professionals is challenging. In this study, the Attention, Generation, Emotion and Spacing (AGES) neurocognitive model of learning was used as a framework to create videos for language teaching for the vocational needs of students.
Objectives. To explore students’ views on the use of videos of simulated clinical scenarios for isiZulu communication and language teaching and the development of cultural awareness.
Methods. Videos were developed using first- and second-language isiZulu speakers with scripts (verified by the university’s Language Board) based on authentic clinical settings. Videos were shown to a target group of students, who were then interviewed in focus group discussions. Audio recordings from the discussions were transcribed and analysed thematically in three categories, i.e. communication, language skills, and cultural awareness, using deductive coding based on the objectives of the research.
Results. Students affirmed numerous benefits of the videos and commented on their use and further development. Benefits described related well to the AGES model of learning and fulfilled the learning requirements of communication teaching, language acquisition and cultural awareness.
Conclusion. The videos represent an innovative teaching method for the resource-constrained environment in which we work and are relevant to the 21st century learner. Further evaluation and development of the tool using different scenarios and African languages is recommended.

Authors' affiliations

Paula Diab, Discipline of Rural Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Margaret Matthews, School of Clinical Medicine, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Roshni Gokool, Discipline of African Languages, School of Arts, College of Humanities, Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Communication skills; Second language; Cultural awareness; Video; isiZulu

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2016;8(1):11-14. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2016.v8i1.402

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-03-10
Date published: 2016-03-26

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