Chandragirish S, Mahesh V, and Shashank K J: Assessing the effectiveness of online learning in anatomy among first MBBS students during COVID-19


Introduction

The online/ e-learning can be defined as the use of electronic technology and media to deliver, support and enhance both learning and teaching and involves communication between learners and teachers utilising online content.” This is the definition described for online learning by Howlett et al.1

From last few decades there are many changes are taking place in the field of medical education moving from traditional method to more towards online/ e-learning method using internet.

The advent of electronic devices like mobile, i- pad, laptops and explosion of social media technology provides opportunities for learners to create their own personalised learning experience.1

Many factors will influence the online teaching programme. Academic faculty therefore share a crucial role in guiding and supporting the effective use of teaching for such learning.

Usually both online and offline teaching have been widely used in higher education. Online learning does not have the time and space limitation. Therefore, evaluating the effectiveness of online teaching and learning remains difficult. The first step being taking the feedback from the students, for better execution.

Need for the Study

Over the last few decades there has been a shift in medical education methods from traditional system to other forms like online, distant or electronic leaning. The impact of Covid-19 pandemic everywhere has led to many changes even in medical education. In response to that many universities including our RGUHS has shifted from routine class room teaching to online teaching. The periodical reviewing of the teaching programmes at regular intervals will help in improving the teaching learning methods and improving the standard of medical education. Hence the study was undertaken.

Objective

To asses the effectiveness of online learning in Anatomy among first MBBS students during COVID-19.

Materials and Methods

A cross sectional study was conducted among 120 MBBS First year medical students for a period of 6 months (May 2020 to November 2020) at Chamarajanagara Institute of Medical Sciences, Chamarajanagara. Informed consent was obtained from all the students prior to the start of the study. The online classes were conducted due to covid-19 lockdown in our institution from May 2020 as per the guidelines from RGUHS. The study was conducted by taking feedback from the students in the form of pre-formed questionnaire regarding the online classes in Google forms for 1st year MBBS students. Questionnaire consisted of information related to difficulties encountered by students during online class and understanding of subject during online class.

Statistical analysis

Data was entered into Microsoft excel data sheet and was analysed using SPSS 22 version software. Categorical data was represented in the form of Frequencies and proportions.

Results

Table 1

Concentration time and common issues faced by students during online class

Count

%

Concentration time for each online class

a) 30 min

86

71.7%

b) 40 min

21

17.5%

c) 50 min

4

3.3%

d) 60 min

9

7.5%

Study environment (disturbance during class) during the class hours

a) Minimum

18

15.0%

b) Moderate

64

53.3%

c) Tolerable

14

11.7%

d) Maximum/couldn’t con

24

20.0%

The internet/network issues during class

a) Negligible

12

10.0%

b) Minimum

18

15.0%

c) Moderate

64

53.3%

d) Maximum /couldn’t con

26

21.7%

The device used for the class

a) Mobile phone

84

70.0%

b) Laptop

25

20.8%

c) Tablet

4

3.3%

d) Desktop

7

5.8%

Common technical errors during classes

a) Network issues

62

51.7%

b) Audio clarity

45

37.5%

c) Visual clarity

8

6.7%

d) Sharing issues

5

4.2%

Discomfort experienced because of the position/gadgets during or after the online classes

a) Eye pain/visual disturb

54

45.0%

b) Headache

48

40.0%

c) Neck pain

12

10.0%

d) Back pain

6

5.0%

Concentration in front of laptop in a day

<30 min

38

31.7%

30min to 1 hr

30

25.0%

1 to 2 hrs

22

18.3%

2 to 3 hrs

18

15.0%

>3 hrs

12

10.0%

In the study majority of students had concentration time of 30 min (71.7%), majority of them opined that there as moderate disturbance during online class (53.3%), majority of them opined that they had moderate internet or network issues (53.3%), majority of them used mobile phone for online class (70%), majority of them opined that common technical errors during the class was network issues (51.7%), most common discomfort experienced by students was eye pain or visual disturbances (45%) and majority of them were able to concentrate in front of laptop for <30 min (31.7%).

Table 2

Understanding of subject by students during online class

Count

%

Understanding of the subject in online class

a) More than regular class

6

5.00%

b) Less than regular class

98

81.67%

c) Same as that of regular

16

13.33%

Understanding the subject only with theory classes without practical classes

a) Better understanding

4

3.33%

b) Practical classes need

116

96.67%

Attention span in the class without teacher

a) 15 min

74

61.7%

b) 30 min

32

26.7%

c) 45 min

10

8.3%

d) 60 min

4

3.3%

Were you able to follow with the material presented in the power point presentation without presence of teacher?

a) Follow 25%

78

65.0%

b) 50%

28

23.3%

c) 75%

12

10.0%

d) 100%

2

1.7%

Were you able to make notes during class?

a) Yes

28

23.33%

b) No

92

76.67%

Were you present for entire class for all the online classes?

a) Yes

44

36.67%

b) No

24

20.00%

c) Not always

52

43.33%

Motivation to attend the online classes

a) Self

46

38.3%

b) Parents

3

2.5%

c) Attendance and exams

68

56.7%

d) Others

3

2.5%

In the study majority of students opined that understanding of subjects was lesser than regular class (81.67%), majority opined that practical classes needed for better understanding along with theory classes (96.67%), attention span in majority was 15 min (61.7%), majority of students were able to follow only 25% during the PPT presentation without teacher (65%).

Only 23.33% of students were able to make notes during online classes, only 36.67% of students ere present for entire duration of online class and majority of them opined that attendance and exams were in the motivation to attend online class (56.7%).

Table 3

Overall effectiveness of online classes as perstudent’s opinion

Count

%

Online Classes are effective

Yes

74

61.7%

No

46

38.3%

In the study overall effectiveness of online teaching in anatomy among 1st year students was 61.7% and 38.3% opined that it was not effective due to various reasons mentioned in above tables.

Figure 1

Pie diagram showing overall effectiveness of online classes

https://typeset-prod-media-server.s3.amazonaws.com/article_uploads/669804ff-9eb3-46b9-b7c3-654897ada370/image/169dff3c-76ec-4ea6-a996-a295563bd627-uimage.png

Discussion

The present study was aimed to asses the effectiveness of the online teaching in the subject of anatomy. With the impact of COVID 19 throughout the globe the regular teaching learning methods were found to be unfavourable to follow along with the guidelines of the COVID 19 restrictions.

With strict rules and regulation and impact of lockdown throughout the country the whole concept of teaching methods was shifted from offline to online in order to continue the medical education of the Undergraduate students.

The overall opinion of students and faculty was that we should keep teaching the students even in this Pandemic situation with effective teaching methods. Hence the online teaching methods which was never done in most of the institutions were implemented. In the present study also the online teaching methods was introduced for the first time and it was difficult to adjust to the new teaching learning methods from both the students and Teachers side.

But with months of Online teaching we were of the opinion that the students could easily adapt to the newer online teaching methods with assistance from other medical knowledge database for Pictures and Videos the online teaching method was found to effective in nearly 61.7% of the students.

The remaining students were of the opinion that online anatomy teaching is difficult to learn and other factors made them think online teaching is ineffective.

In the study done by Roy H et al.2 the students were divided with respect to teaching methods of few topics to be conducted online or offline post lockdown. In another study done by Ravitheja Eluru et al.3 the students preferred Classroom teaching over online teaching as they felt that theoretical nor practical aspects of anatomy could be learnt effectively online.

These difference of opinion of students on teaching methods to be followed for effective learning depends on various other factors also as mentioned in the study done by Doherty OD et al.4 where lack of study materials, lack of library, network and connectivity issues were the major drawbacks along with lack of study environment in home due to personal problems in the family.

In another study done by Chang CA et al.5 also opined that online teaching can be effective only if good internet service is available everywhere.

Another major drawback of the online teaching is lack of one on one student to teacher interactions, and the inability of the teacher to assess the learning ability of the students. Similar opinion was also given in the study done by Barr B et al.6

Another issue regarding the online teaching is that usage of the platform for teaching purpose, where the platform which teacher finds comfortable might not be the same for students and difference of opinion among students regarding best platform will also have an impact on learning ability of children.7

Conclusion

The study concludes that online classes were not so effective as students encountered lot of technical problems, reduced attention span, low motivation and lesser understanding in the concepts of subject thought. Hence measures must be taken to improve online teaching of anatomy for MBBS students.

Source of Funding

None.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

References

1 

D Doherty M Dromey J Lougheed Ailish Hannigan, Jason Last and Deirdre McGrath. Barriers and solutions to online learning in medical education - an integrative reviewBMC Med Educ201818130

2 

D Roy S Tripathy SK Kar N Sharma SK Verma V Kaushal Study of knowledge, attitude, anxiety & perceived mental healthcare need in Indian population during COVID-19 pandemicAsian J Psychiatry20205110208310.1016/j.ajp.2020.102083

3 

R Eluru MV Ramulu R Koshi S Deshpande Effect of Corona Pandemic on Learning Anatomy Subject among First Year MBBS StudentsInt J Anat2021101135

4 

OD Doherty M Dromey J Lougheed A Hannigan J Last D McGrath Barrier & solution to online teaching in medical education- An integrative reviewBMC Med EduC201818130

5 

CA Chang O Cate E Custers M Leeuwen R Bleys Approaches of anatomy teaching for seriously resource-deprived countries: A literature reviewEduc Heal Chang Learn Pract20193226274

6 

B Barr Identifying and addressing the mental health needs of online students in higher educationOnline J Distance Learn Administration2020172

7 

RG Saade D Kira T Mak F Nebebe Anxiety and Performance in Online LearningProceedings of the Informing Science and Information Technology Education Conference, Vietnam201714757



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Article History

Received : 17-06-2021

Accepted : 23-06-2021

Available online : 06-07-2021


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https://doi.org/10.18231/j.ijcap.2021.033


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