|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 132-134
Facilitating learning among medical students amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2
1 Department of Community Medicine, Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||23-Dec-2020|
|Date of Decision||12-Jan-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||19-Jan-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||16-Feb-2021|
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has accounted for significant implications on all the public health institutions, and the same stands true for medical colleges. An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine, and a total of 12 articles were selected based on the suitability with the current review objectives. Owing to the fact that the disease spreads predominantly by close contact and airborne mode, it was decided to close the medical colleges for students. Although such immediate actions prevented any major outbreak among medical students, owing to the uncertainty about how the pandemic will unfold, the pandemic accounted for a major impact on the effective delivery of medical education. The initiation of online mode of teaching–learning was not easy for all the medical colleges, and there were lots of issues pertaining to the resource constraints and the administrative support. In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the delivery of medical education to a remarkable extent. Although there have been challenges to deal with, then there have been multiple opportunities as well to ensure that the teaching continues and the students remain engaged.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, medical education, online teaching–learning
|How to cite this article:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Facilitating learning among medical students amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Apollo Med 2021;18:132-4
| Introduction|| |
The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has accounted for significant implications on all the public health institutions, and the same stands true for medical colleges. Owing to the fact that the disease spreads predominantly by close contact and airborne mode and that a large number of infectious patients were visiting health-care centers, including tertiary care hospitals linked with medical colleges, it was decided to close the medical colleges for students.
| Methods|| |
An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine. Relevant research articles focusing on COVID-19 and medical education published in the period April 2020–December 2020 were included in the review. A total of 17 studies similar to the current study objectives were identified initially, of which five were excluded due to the unavailability of the complete version of the articles. Overall, 12 articles were selected based on the suitability with the current review objectives and analyzed. The collected information is presented under the following subheadings, namely COVID-19 and medical education, online teaching–learning and assessment, online tools employed for learning and assessment, challenges encountered and the potential solutions, implications for practice, and implications for research.
COVID-19 and medical education
In other words, the traditional mode of face-to-face teaching, clinical postings, and in some of the worst affected settings, even internship was interrupted till the situation comes in control., All these steps were essential as the medical students who were visiting hospitals for their clinical training were not only becoming vulnerable to acquire the infection but also acted as a source of infection for their colleagues (hostel inmates) and other family members (day scholars).,
Although such immediate actions prevented any major outbreak among medical students, owing to the uncertainty about how the pandemic will unfold, the pandemic accounted for a major impact on the effective delivery of medical education., The students have been deprived of the clinical exposure and practical sessions, and the medical teachers/administrators have also found it extremely challenging to adapt to this unique situation.,,
Online teaching–learning and assessment
For the initial period, it was hard for everyone to acclimatize to the sudden developments, but then gradually, most of the medical colleges explored and resorted to virtual learning opportunities. The virtual or online learning environment enabled the delivery of medical information (viz. theoretical content, images, and multimedia) to the students who were separated by time and space. This was essential as the priority was to keep the learners safe, engaged and ensure that the process of learning continues regardless of their physical presence in the institution. Further, some of the institutions adopted the hybrid model (combination of synchronous and asynchronous online teaching) for the benefit of the medical students through adoption of the learning management system.,,
Online tools employed for learning and assessment
Moreover, different medical colleges adopted different online tools (viz. Google Classroom, learning management system, Kahoot, Poll Everywhere, and GoSoapBox) for the assessment of cognitive domain, while zoom and other video conferencing applications have been used for the assessment of psychomotor and communication domain.,, At Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, a constituent unit of the Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, the medical students have been exposed to different modes of online teaching–learning (viz. Zoom and BigBlueButton) and assessment (such as proctored online assessments, Google Forms, Kahoot, clinical assessment using WhatsApp, and Pear Deck). Some of the institutions even adopted problem-based learning sessions, case vignettes, standardized patients, simulators, etc., to facilitate learning among medical students.,,
Challenges encountered and the potential solutions
The initiation of online mode of teaching–learning was not easy for all the medical colleges, and there were lots of issues pertaining to the resource constraints and the administrative support., We have to acknowledge the presence of challenges (such as infrastructure support, administrative support, technical expertise, faculty, and student-related factors) in online teaching–learning and accordingly come up with feasible solutions.,,,, Subsequently, it was realized that mere passage of information is not enough, and the students have to be assessed as well for their learning progress., Accordingly, different innovations have been implemented in heterogeneous settings to assess all domains of learning, with major impetus toward psychomotor, affective, and communication domain.,,
The administration has to be convinced about the need to continue learning among medical students and keeping them engaged during these times of prolonged physical absence., Thus, they have to invest in the development of the required infrastructure and appoint the technical team to sustain the implemented innovations. The faculty members have to be sensitized about the use of different online tools through workshops and encouraged to keep the sessions as interactive as possible.,,, Similarly, students also can be explained about their roles and responsibilities and the need to actively participate in the online sessions.,, The issue of conduction of fair assessments can be sorted out by organizing proctored assessments. Finally, we have to also envision the teaching–learning after the students are back in the institution and continue the best practices of online teaching–learning and integrate the same in conventional teaching.,,,,,
Implications for practice
It is the need of the hour that medical education delivery should continue in these unprecedented times and thus it is the responsibility of all the stakeholders (viz. administrators, management, teachers, students, and parents) to support the cause. Each of the medical colleges has to make some form of financial investment to get connected with the students separated by distance. A special department-wise teaching schedule should be prepared to cater to the needs of the students and with an aim to cover all the desired competencies and supplement the same with periodic assessments. The focus should be given toward targeting all the four domains of learning and not only cognitive domain. More and more innovations should be tried by the institutions/departments, so that the students are benefited and are given constant guidance to improve their learning.
Implications for research
The major focus for research remains teaching and assessment of psychomotor, affective, and communication domains of learning. The cognitive component has been easily delivered through the available platforms, but the remaining learning domains are being grossly ignored. Some of the applications have been developed to ensure seamless delivery of psychomotor and communication domains, but these are often highly resource-intensive and require extensive financial investments. Moreover, we have to ensure that all these domains of learning are periodically assessed, so that we can precisely measure the students' progress and provide them feedback for their future improvement.
| Conclusion|| |
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the delivery of medical education to a remarkable extent. Although there have been challenges to deal with, then there have been multiple opportunities as well to ensure that the teaching continues and the students remain engaged.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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