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How Effective is Online Study in Medical Field?

This article aims to examine the impact of online study on the medical field. In particular, we will analyze the differences between online and offline learning and the effects of different online learning methods on the medical field. To answer these questions, we will examine students’ activities during online classes and compare their acceptance with traditional classroom settings.

Examining the Effectiveness of Online Study in the Medical Field

The COVID-19 pandemic provided a unique opportunity to evaluate the state of medical education nationwide and systematically test the effectiveness of online curricula in a developing country.

Online learning is not yet a substitute for hands-on clinical experiences. Medical schools should establish a roadmap for students to return to the clinical setting after completing their studies. It is not enough to give students a book to read; students should be able to practice the skills they learned through practical experience.

Effects of Online Learning

Online learning in the medical field has its advantages and disadvantages. It can save time, energy, and money but pose several challenges. Therefore, students should be prepared for this type of learning before applying it. Moreover, they should ensure they understand how to use online platforms to gain practical experience.

In the past, most online learnings consisted of static, non-interactive learning resources. Therefore, the differences between online and offline learning were usually minimal. Also, the knowledge and skills taught in included studies were not necessarily superior to those in offline classes. Moreover, objective assessment tools might not be sufficient to assess the advanced capacities of medical students.

While traditional teaching methods still play a vital role in developing higher-order cognitive skills, e-learning is expected to take an increasingly important role in the medical field in the future. In addition, online resources and online colleges for medical education materials have increased rapidly. Mobile technologies have also made getting a medical education through e-learning more accessible to students. One recent study examined the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on faculty acceptance of online medical education. It found that the pandemic’s impact on online education was positive for most respondents. In addition to these findings, most participants planned to integrate their online expertise into their practices. However, first, faculty must be provided with professional development programs to use their expertise effectively.

Comparison of Online Learning with Offline Learning

The comparative effectiveness of online and offline studies of the medical field has been investigated in several studies. Researchers compared the results of these two learning methods on knowledge, skills, and course satisfaction. They included studies involving undergraduate medical students of different grade levels. They used a meta-analysis of 21 RCTs and six CCTs that involved 2,308 students. Overall, online learning was found to be more effective than offline learning. However, the authors note that several factors may have influenced the study results. The included studies varied greatly regarding the types of participants, courses, examination format, and outcome measures used. Nevertheless, sensitivity analyses revealed that the results were robust.

Students who studied the medical field online reported a higher satisfaction level and higher knowledge scores. Furthermore, online learning promoted long-term retention, as demonstrated by multiple-choice questions used as a post-test. Although multiple-choice questions are not a perfect predictor of clinical performance, they were an effective way to assess student knowledge and skills.

This meta-analysis showed that online learning was more effective than offline learning for the same degree of knowledge and skills. In addition, the quality of the online study was also better than offline learning. The number of students enrolled in online studies is increasing rapidly. Therefore, online medical students can study from home and avoid the hassles of an intensive campus.