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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 26-28

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Perceptions of Students about Change in Medical Education


1 Dr. BR Ambedkar State Institute of Medical Sciences, Mohali, India
2 Government Medical College (GMC), Amritsar, Punjab, India

Date of Submission31-Jan-2022
Date of Acceptance09-Feb-2022
Date of Web Publication08-May-2022

Correspondence Address:
Divya Goel
Dr BR Ambedkar State Institute of Medical Sciences, 56A, Sec 56, near Civil Hospital, Sector 57, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, 160055 Mohali, Punjab
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/AMJM.AMJM_11_22

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  Abstract 

Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted teaching in a variety of institutions, especially in medical schools. Online learning became the main method of teaching during the COVID pandemic. After 12 weeks of online teaching and online learning, a study was conducted to know about the student’s perception regarding online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and Methods: A study was conducted by distributing an online questionnaire to medical students. At the end of the survey, summarized data from a google spreadsheet were analyzed. Descriptive statistics and t-test analysis were used for data analysis. Results: Overall, 460 students answered the questionnaire. According to the respondents’ answers, the main advantages of online learning were the ability to stay safely at home (68.56%), meet academic requirements (26.65%), and the opportunity to beat the boredom of lockdown (4.79%). The majority of respondents chose a lack of interactions with teachers (59.52%). Overall, 51.74% respondents did not want online learning to continue after the COVID pandemic. Conclusions: Online learning is a powerful tool for teaching medical students. However, for its successful implementation, a well-thought-out plan and a more active approach is required.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, medical students, online teaching, perception


How to cite this article:
Goel D, Grover I P. Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Perceptions of Students about Change in Medical Education. Amrita J Med 2022;18:26-8

How to cite this URL:
Goel D, Grover I P. Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Perceptions of Students about Change in Medical Education. Amrita J Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 May 21];18:26-8. Available from: https://www.ajmonline.org.in/text.asp?2022/18/1/26/344944


  Introduction Top


Currently, the world is facing an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted daily activities of the people and medical education is no exception.[1],[2] It has caused a sudden transition from physical classes to entirely online classes globally to ensure the well-being of students.[3] It is highly unlikely that there would be a return to the scenario that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The current time is the transformation phase that deals with the use of e-classes in medical education. In India, e-learning has been found to be as effective as traditional teaching–learning; however, students did not find it as a replacement of physical classes, rather as a complement to it.[4] In online teaching, the main mode of communication is through virtual interactions and students focus more on virtual content. E-learning requires not just technological support but also pedagogical support.[5] Online learning, like any other method of teaching and learning, has its own benefits and limitations. It is important to study all these factors if these transformative changes are to be continued in future, as online teaching in medical education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is a necessity and not a choice. In online teaching, it is important to know learners’ perceptions regarding online teaching. This study was intended to know about students’ perceptions regarding online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  Materials and Methods Top


On March 24, 2020, the Indian government declared a nationwide lockdown, which resulted in the suspension of face-to-face learning in medical colleges. All medical colleges started online teaching. After 12 weeks of online teaching, a prevalidated questionnaire was distributed to medical students by WhatsApp after getting an ethical waiver off from IEC. There were no exclusion criteria. All participants were fully informed about the objectives of the study and agreed to voluntarily participate in it.

The questionnaire was divided into two sections. The first section identified some of the demographic characteristics of respondents: Age, gender, and year of study. The second section of the questionnaire included a set of items to evaluate students’ perceptions about the change in medical education during the COVID pandemic.

Statistical analysis

At the end of the survey, summarized data from a google spreadsheet were analyzed. Descriptive statistics and t test analysis were used for data analysis. The degree of statistical significance is denoted by the P < 0.05.


  Results Top


Characteristics of respondents

A total of 460 students participated in this study. The characteristics of the medical students are shown in [Table 1]. Among the 460 students, 260 (56.52%) were males and 200 (43.48%) were females. A total of 180 (39.13%) students had previous experience with e-learning, whereas 280 (60.87%) had no experience.
Table 1: Characteristics of the study population

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Advantages and disadvantages of e-learning

Overall, 334 (72.61%) participants agreed with the conductance of online learning during the COVID pandemic lockdown. The most frequent advantages of online learning experienced by participants were that they feel that this learning is safer (68.56%), continuous access to online teaching will help them meet the academic requirement (26.65%), and the opportunity to beat the boredom of lockdown (4.79%). Overall, 126 (27.39%) respondents were not satisfied with the conductance of online learning. The majority of respondents (59.52%) chose lack of interactions with teachers as the main disadvantage. There was a statistically significant difference of opinion between students of the first professor and the second professor and between the new third professor and the old third professor regarding personal interactions with teachers (P = 0.027)[Table 2].
Table 2: Advantages and disadvantages of e-learning

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Comparison between face-to-face and online learning

Overall, 280 (61.09%) respondents were of the opinion that face-to-face learning is better than online learning, as interaction during online learning is poorer than face-to-face learning.

Acceptance of e-learning

On a Likert scale, 238 (51.74%) respondents do not want online learning to continue after the COVID pandemic, whereas 134 (29.13%) respondents want online learning to continue after the COVID pandemic.


  Discussion Top


In this study, we evaluated medical students’ perceptions of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety at home, continuous access to online teaching to meet academic requirements were considered the strongest advantages of online learning among the respondents in this study. Most of the students have returned to their homes. Online learning methods are beneficial, because these can be accessed worldwide. Remote access is of particular importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, so as to maintain social distancing.[6] In addition, online learning enables standardized learning materials to be quickly delivered to all students and it can be tailored according to students’ needs.[7] Students can also record their classes for future reference; this could be a step toward self-directed learning, which allows them to manage their learning as compared with instructor-led learning. Studies have shown that self-directed learning can be more beneficial than physical learning.[8]

Online learning is not without its disadvantages. The main problem for respondents in this study, especially those in touch with the first and second professor of the study, was a lack of interaction with teachers. The majority of respondents were of the opinion that face-to-face learning is better than online learning, as interaction during online learning is poorer than face-to-face teaching. To tackle it, there should be more emphasis on online problem-based learning as compared with online instructor-led learning as it is found to increase more interaction, which results in a better learning experience.[9] Poor interaction between learners and facilitators, and a lack of clarity of the purpose and goals of the learning can act as barriers in the learning process.[10],[11]

Another method to increase interaction is gamification, in which “game design elements are used in non-game contexts.[12]

It appears that, for some respondents, not having Internet access and personal computers/smartphones were hindrance factors in their learning experience. More than 60% of the respondents in this study had never experienced any form of online learning before the COVID-19 pandemic, which might be the reason why technical issues were seen as a disadvantage of online learning in this study. Online learning requires a reliable Internet connection and the necessary equipment for its successful implementation.[13] Students should be made familiar with the equipment and they should get technical guidance from the IT department before and during online learning.


  Conclusions Top


This study showed that online learning is a valuable method of teaching medical students during the COVID pandemic. Online learning should not only be based on the delivery of content, but it should also incorporate new methods to make it more interactive. Most students do not want virtual teaching in future after the COVID pandemic; however, for how long this situation is going to continue is uncertain. We as a medical community should take it as a challenge and come up with a well-thought-out plan and a more active approach for the benefit of future budding doctors.

Ethical clearance

Taken from the Institutional Ethics committee, GMC, Amritsar, No. IEC 2039.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
COVID-19 & Higher Education: A pile of questions [Internet]. Deccan Herald. 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 9]. Available from: https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/comment/covid-19-higher-education-a-pile-of-questions-827698.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 25].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
O’Doherty D, Dromey M, Lougheed J, Hannigan A, Last J, McGrath D. Barriers and solutions to online learning in medical education - an integrative review. BMC Med Educ 2018;18:130.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Most teaching is going remote. Will that help or hurt online learning? | Inside Higher Ed [Internet]. [cited 2020 Aug 9]. Available from: https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/03/18/most-teaching-going-remote-will-help-or-hurt-online-learning. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 30].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Ruiz JG, Mintzer MJ, Leipzig RM. The impact of E-learning in medical education. Acad Med 2006;81:207-12.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Ellaway R, Masters K. AMEE guide 32: E-learning in medical education part 1: Learning, teaching and assessment. Med Teach 2008;30:455-73.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Stain SC, Mitchell M, Belue R, Mosley V, Wherry S, Adams CZ, et al. Objective assessment of videoconferenced lectures in a surgical clerkship. Am J Surg 2005;189:81-4.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Zehry, K, Halder, N, Theodosiou, L. E-Learning in medical education in the United Kingdom. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 2011;15:3163-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Peine A, Kabino K, Spreckelsen C. Erratum to: Self-directed learning can outperform direct instruction in the course of a modern German medical curriculum: Results of a mixed methods trial. BMC Med Educ 2016;16:265.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Sendag S, Duran M. Comparing preservice teachers` perceptions of online problem- based learning and online instructor-led learning. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 2012;31:212-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Docherty A, Sandhu H. Student-perceived barriers and facilitators to e-learning in continuing professional development in primary care. Educ Prim Care 2006;17:343-53.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Gagnon MP, Légaré F, Labrecque M, Frémont P, Cauchon M, Desmartis M. Perceived barriers to completing an e-learning program on evidence-based medicine. Inform Prim Care 2007;15:83-91.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Deterding S, Dixon D, Khaled R, Nacke L. From game design elements to gamefulness. Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference on Envisioning Future Media Environments – MindTrek’11. New York: ACM Press; 2011. p. 9.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Lu DF, Lin ZC, Li YJ. Effects of a web-based course on nursing skills and knowledge learning. J Nurs Educ 2009;48:70-7.  Back to cited text no. 13
    



 
 
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