Distance learning or classroom learning?

Distance learning or classroom learning?

Researchers from Sechenov University and HSE University have performed a joint study concluding that the combination of offline and online learning is beneficial. The study took place at the Department of Pharmacology of Sechenov University’s Institute of Pharmacy, with the support of the Russian International Networking Centre of AMEE — the Association for Medical Education in Europe.

The authors summarised their results in the paper titled Choosing a Lecture Format in Higher Pharmaceutical Education, published in the journal Educational Studies Moscow. Students participated in evaluating the effectiveness of distance learning.

The traditional student—teacher—learning environment concept has required changes during the coronavirus pandemic, as universities have had to quickly transition to distance learning. Online technologies have proven effective, with many educational organisations actively using them. However, in the field of medicine, a complete switch from face-to-face training to distance learning seems impossible — because future doctors need to develop practical skills.

How does the transition from classroom teaching to asynchronous learning affect the quality of education of future doctors? Does distance learning have an impact on the educational level of medical students? How do students feel about online learning? Is it OK to integrate video lectures into the traditional classroom setting of a medical university? These were the questions of the study.

The authors of the paper evaluated various criteria of mastering the pharmacology programme by second-year students at the Institute of Pharmacy. The researchers analysed the opportunities offered by the combination of face-to-face consultations after watching video lectures with traditional discussion sessions. The combination has been more effective, with students scoring higher in the post-test.

The results of the study will be used to improve distance learning techniques.