Impact of Online Learning during COVID-19 Pandemic and its Comparison with Conventional Teaching: A Cross-sectional Study
Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.
Introduction: Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has made a huge impact on medical education resulting in adoption of online methods of teaching in order to continue with the process of teaching and learning so as to complete the syllabus. In addition, online education methods also helped to provide psychological support to the students in this time of crisis.
Aim: To evaluate the perception of students for online learning and to compare it with conventional classroom teaching.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in the Department of Pharmacology at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, on fifth semester 148 medical undergraduates, in April, 2021. All the participants were randomly divided into two groups, with each group consisting of 74 students. Group I was taught antitubercular drugs through online method while, group II was taught the same topic in classroom and then a cross-over was done among the two groups for antimalarial drugs on the second day. The perception of students towards online learning and the preferred method of teaching were evaluated using a predesigned standardised questionnaire. The collected data was analysed using Z-test and p-value <0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Out of 148 students, 62.84% were females. Mobile phones (86.48%) were the most commonly used gadgets for online learning. Majority of students preferred conventional classroom teaching with regard to convenience (75.67%), acquisition of knowledge (83.78%), practical skills (89.86%), interactive (84.45%), doubt clearance and the preferred method of teaching (81.08%). However, most of the students agreed that online learning saves time (62.83%) and was better suited for submission of assignments (68.9%). A statistically significant difference (p-value <0.05) was observed when online learning was compared with classroom teaching.
Conclusion: The study concluded that online learning is not a substitute for classroom teaching but might supplement conventional classroom teaching. However, it helps in completion of syllabus and boosts the morale of the students during this pandemic.