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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 70  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 67-68

Quality control in E-learning for medical education

1 Department of Anatomy, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, MAHE, Manipal, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Anatomy, Kamineni Academy of Medical Sciences and Research Center, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
3 Department of Paediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Santosh Dental College and Hospital, Ghaziabad, Delhi NCR, India

Date of Submission08-Jun-2021
Date of Acceptance08-Jun-2021
Date of Web Publication30-Jun-2021

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Vishram Singh
OC 5/103, 1st Floor, Orange County Society, Ahinsa Khand I, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, Delhi NCR 201 014, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jasi.jasi_104_21

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How to cite this article:
Singh V, Reddy KC, Singh R. Quality control in E-learning for medical education. J Anat Soc India 2021;70:67-8

How to cite this URL:
Singh V, Reddy KC, Singh R. Quality control in E-learning for medical education. J Anat Soc India [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Sep 19];70:67-8. Available from: https://www.jasi.org.in/text.asp?2021/70/2/67/320240

E-learning has been a part of the education system for a long time. Massive open online courses with dedicated curriculum and learning modules have been quite effective and gained a lot of traction in various streams of education by giving flexibility of time and finances to learners and students. COVID-19 has changed the scenario drastically and brought mainstream medical education into the foray of e-learning, although the technology was being used in the form of offline e-learning (popular among medical students by way of sharing PDFs, learning resources, and so on) and online e-learning (popular for continuing professional development programs). There is a sudden need to teach undergraduate medical students remotely using various online platforms such as Zoom, WebEx, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. The usage of novel technology to enhance medical education has come to the forefront.[1] The quality of teaching and content needs to be much higher in online teaching when compared to that of face-to-face teaching, considering students are not in a controlled environment. This realm of teaching requires faculty to be more creative in maintaining and engaging students' interest in the subject and the concept of learning. The success of e-learning depends on it being “brain friendly”, on engaging the learners from an understanding of how the cognitive system works.[2] To maintain this quality, one has to consider the following factors:

  • Need for medical colleges to provide technology that enables the faculty to maintain the standards of teaching
  • Sensitization of faculty and students toward the usage of the software (various platforms, learning management system [LMS]) which the college has provided
  • Content of the lectures has to be created keeping in mind that we are not teaching in a physical classroom
  • Content should help promote interactions among faculty and students (student engagement)
  • Constant evaluation and assessment need to be done to positively impact and improve the ongoing classes
  • Students should be provided access to digital library remotely and other e-resource material by way of LMS.

The focus should be on the curriculum design and planning of the teaching sessions rather than on the technologies themselves.[3] Adapting the principles of Kern's model of curriculum design for medical education toward the e-learning that we are employing could help yield more productive outcomes.[4] The six steps Kern's model are as follows:

  Step 1: Problem Identification and General Needs Assessment Top

Identifying and categorizing competencies into higher-level and lower-level knowledge domains. Lower-level knowledge domain competencies could be taught using flipped classroom model by providing relevant study material pre-session instead of didactic mode (This is just an example to initiate other modes of teaching methods among both students and faculty). This increases student engagement and also will inculcate the concept of self-directed learning in students. This model also motivates students to spend more time in acquiring knowledge outside of a formal class.[5]

  Step 2: Targeted Needs Assessment Top

Identifying students' baseline knowledge will optimize the design, planning, and delivery of the lectures. This step will help us in including all levels of learners, and slow learners would not feel left out. This could be done by taking presession polls and surveys. This also shifts onus onto students, as they identify their own levels.

  Step 3: Goals and Objectives Top

End of session goals should be crisp and clear so that students follow the flow of the lecture.

  Step 4: Educational Strategies Top

Extrapolating from Step 1, students should be encouraged to speak up during the session, this could be by predeciding the speakers or randomly picking volunteers during the session. Positive reinforcement should be the mantra rather than negative reinforcement. Breakout room sessions followed by plenary could also be employed in short bursts for discussions to improve student engagement.

  Step 5: Implementation Top

Instead of only an audio lecture, mitigating it with video of the faculty by switching on the web camera would give a sense of connection to the students. Pausing in between the lecture and giving students time to post doubts through audio or chat box will keep them engaged and breaks the monotony of the lecture.

  Step 6: Assessment, Evaluation, and Feedback Top

Assessment of students can be done using polling and quiz features which are inbuilt in the conferencing platform itself. Evaluation and feedback forms may be designed using Google Forms and sent to students to evaluate the effectiveness of the session also get feedback from students which forms a base to improve the quality of the lectures. The forms should be designed to be anonymous to encourage constructive criticism.

The six steps listed above are nonlinear and interdependent, principles of each step are dependent on one another to achieve an effective outcome and they should not be treated as independent entities. The National Medical council (NMC) in coordination with nodal centers of medical education units (MEU) should issue guidelines for online teaching to maintain uniformity and quality of the content. This will also decrease ambiguity of e-learning among all the stakeholders (faculty, students, and parents). Strictly speaking, the teaching that we are perceiving as “online” or “e-learning” in fact, may be termed as “remote teaching” by the assistance of technology.

  References Top

Sheehy R. This is not your grandfather's medical school: Novel tools to enhance medical education. Mo Med 2019;116:371-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
Dror I, Schmidt P, O'connor L. A cognitive perspective on technology enhanced learning in medical training: Great opportunities, pitfalls and challenges. Med Teach 2011;33:291-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
Teaching Remotely – Best Practices for Online Pedagogy. Available from: https://teachremotely.harvard.edu/best-practices. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 08].  Back to cited text no. 3
Thomas PA, Kern DE, Hughes MT, Chen BY. Curriculum Development for Medical Education: A Six-Step Approach. 3rd ed. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press; 2015.  Back to cited text no. 4
King AM, Gottlieb M, Mitzman J, Dulani T, Schulte SJ, Way DP. Flipping the classroom in graduate medical education: A systematic review. J Grad Med Educ 2019;11:18-29.  Back to cited text no. 5


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