Perceptions and Experience of Medical Students
Regarding E-learning during COVID-19
Lockdown: A Cross-sectional Study
Dr. Surender Kashyap,
Vice Chancellor, Atal Medical and Research University Campus, Shri Lal Bahadur
Medical College and Hospital, Mandi-175008, Himachal Pradesh, India.
Introduction: Medical education has been adversely affected during Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic. Imparting medical education through e-platforms exclusively was a novel experience both for students and teachers. Even though online classes have been ongoing since almost one and half year, not much data on perception and experience about e-learning among medical students is available from India.
Aim: To evaluate perceptions, experiences and challenges faced by medical students regarding e-learning during lockdown period owing to COVID-19 along with their future preferences.
Materials and Methods: The present study was a questionnaire based cross-sectional survey regarding use of e-learning during COVID-19 pandemic among 340 Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSc-NUR) students. It was conducted in the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Medical College and Hospital Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India from May 2021 to July 2021. Students perceptions’ of e-learning were assessed using the validated Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) model and responses were measured on 5-point Likert scale. Quantitative data was expressed by mean and standard deviation and significant level of differences between means were tested by Student’s t-test (unpaired). Proportions were compared by Chi-square test or Fisher’s-exact test. A p-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: Out of 400 students, 340 responded of which 225 were females. Of the total 340 students, (n=333; 97.9%) respondents, had an idea of e-learning and more than half (n=188; 55.3%) had used any type of e-learning platform prior to onset of COVID-19. More number of MBBS students had used e-learning than BSc-NUR students (55% v/s 41%; p=0.033). Cell phone was the most common device (n=324; 95.3%) used. The quick sharing of material (n=258; 76%) and flexibility (n=233; 68.5%) were top rated benefits of e-learning. The key disadvantages were suboptimal practical training (n=222; 65.3%) and lack of face-to-face interactions (n=146; 43%). Majority of students voted for traditional learning (n=156; 45.9%) closely followed by blended learning (n=140; 41.2%).
Conclusion: The students had an overall positive attitude towards e-learning and wanted to continue e-learning alongside traditional teaching i.e., blended learning. Exploration of merits and barriers to e-learning during pandemic can act as a guide to implement blended learning in medical curriculum for enhanced teaching/learning experience.