Vol 21 No 1 (2021)
Original articles

The quality of medical distance learning: A retrospective study on its effectiveness as perceived by students

Matteo De Rensis
LOMEi SISM - Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina - APS
Federico Fama
SISM - Presidente Nazionale - Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina - APS
Giulia Di Gifico
NOME SISM - Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina - APS
Andrea Camossi
SISM - Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina - APS
Andrea Caronna
SISM - Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina - APS
Javeria Ali
SISM - Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina - APS
Davide Raspanti
SISM - Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina - APS
Nicola Ferrara
SISM - Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina - APS
Veronica Fasciglione
SISM - Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina - APS
Published May 14, 2021
Keywords
  • distance learning,
  • covid-19,
  • survey,
  • curriculum,
  • experiential learning

Abstract

This study arises from the desire of investigate the perceived effectiveness and critical issues of distance learning, which has been adopted by universities during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. An anonymous survey was distributed among Italian medical students, trying to reach the largest part of them via the communication channels of SISM – Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina – APS.

1,489 students from 40 universities have filled in the survey. 75% of the sample attended distance lectures, whereas 11% took part to Problem or Case Based Learning activities. Most of the reported criticism was due to organizational or logistic issues rather than technological ones. Half of the sample has not perceived any variations relating to the interaction with the teachers, whereas most of the interviewed people perceives a decreased interaction with classmates as an affectingly factor on their learning. 48% of the sample reports a greater distractibility and 38% a greater tiredness in comparison with face-to-face teaching.

The essential lesson methods to set up an effective distance learning (e.g. e-learning) were probed through collected data and scientific literature. The main outcome has been acknowledging that the roles of the learner and the teacher in the process of distance learning differ from the equivalent roles in face-to-face learning. Therefore, redefining lesson methods and broadly curricular contents is required in order to organize an effective distance learning.