Main Article Content
Background and Objective
Urology trainees in the West Midlands are provided with protected compulsory teaching sessions by the deanery. These teaching sessions are usually held in a regional centre, on a face-to-face basis. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a profound impact not only on individuals, the healthcare system, but has affected medical education for trainees. All regional teaching sessions have been moved online for the safety of individuals and to comply with social distancing guidelines. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of online teaching during the pandemic.
Material and Methods
An online survey was sent out to all urology trainees in the West Midlands. The questionnaire, comprised of a mixture of open, closed and Likert-10-point scale questions was used to compare online teaching against face-to-face teaching. An independent t-test was carried out as the data was presumed to follow a normal distribution. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05.
70% of trainees responded and participated in the survey. Attendance rates were higher when teaching was online compared to face-to-face sessions. 100% of trainees were able to attend at least 80% of online teaching sessions whilst 89% were able to attend face-to-face sessions. However, the quality of teaching were not statistically significant between face-to-face and online teaching sessions (mean = 7.95 and 8.11 respectively, p= 0.316). The study found that trainees benefited from the accessibility of online teaching sessions but lost out on social networking and interactivity of face-to-face sessions. Most participants recommended a hybrid or blended learning approach once the pandemic is over.
The impact of COVID-19 has almost forced all undergraduate and postgraduate education to have a form of virtual presence. All teaching sessions will remain online for the foreseeable future. Our study found no difference between the qualities of teaching for both approaches. However, benefits and drawbacks of online teaching have been identified. Hence, we recommend a mixed learning approach of face-to-face and online teaching for the future.
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