Earlier this year, faculties encountered challenges they had never faced before as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2800 schools in healthcare education joined with educational institutions worldwide in suspending in-class teaching in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. As a result, dramatic and sudden shifts were introduced and accepted as reality much faster than ever before. 

The purpose of the research 

The pandemic has had an enormous impact on people around the world, from personal and professional aspects as well. After helping clinical training programs worldwide with our 30 days of free package, as a medical education company with a user base of thousands of students and hundreds of educators, we saw a unique opportunity to survey our community and provide a current snapshot of international distance learning practices and experiences. 

This international report has been created because, at InSimu, we wanted to help the stakeholders of clinical training to understand these seismic shifts in medical education and offer insight into the future of distance medical learning. We believe that the information we gathered, and the voices of the students and educators are worth considering in the future development of educational methods and infrastructure. 

We surveyed 281 students and educators from 64 countries for this study. In this post, we summarize some of the key findings of the research.

1 in 5 schools implemented virtual patient simulators to provide a more engaging and interactive learning experience

The most common tools for remote education were online presentations (in 72% of the cases), followed by webinar meetings (60%) and online video platforms (49%). 22% of participants reported that their schools implemented a virtual patient simulator as part of their online remote training. 

Remote exams were conducted mainly via online quizzes and tests (65%) and essays (33%). However, 21% of the research participants’ schools already discovered the potential of launching exams on virtual case scenarios. Students cite discovering new learning tools, such as InSimu as one of the main benefits to come out of this period of sudden distance learning.   

Challenge of providing adequate clinical practice is exacerbated by distance learning

Schools’ speed in implementing such solutions was also a driver of satisfaction with overall distance learning strategies. Educators and faculties did their best and these efforts were highly appreciated by the students.

“Our teachers really tried to do their best. We haven’t had many e-learning documents and all of a sudden they came up with really great solutions.”

However, the lack of clinical practice, motivation, and technical problems still presented huge challenges for the students.

“The biggest challenge was by far keeping myself motivated, in spite of the global pandemic and the uncertainties that this brought to my life, both as an individual and as a medical student (especially with regards to exams).”

What will medical education look like after COVID-19?

Beyond the inevitable challenges, many positive outcomes have been experienced. Students felt that they could improve their self-studying skills, had more time to devote to their personal professional interests. They also enjoyed discovering new tools and methods for studying.

“I found that there are many options regarding online studying platforms and apps such as insimu”

In the future, as a long-term additional e-learning solution, the majority of participants have positive attitudes towards using virtual patient simulators. 

“It’s the most objective way to test student’s clinical skills.”

Download the full report to….

  • get an overview of methods schools used to cope with COVID-19 school closures to benchmark against your strategy.
  • hear the voice of students and educators in clinical training and read our analysis of the challenges and benefits of distance medical education based on their experiences.
  • learn more about the advantages of virtual patient simulators in a distance learning or traditional medical education program.
  • get inspired for the future to keep up with the medical education trends.

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