Adapting Educational Strategy For the 2020-21 School Year Because of COVID-19
Responses by Tao Le, MD, MHS, series editor of the First Aid book series and CEO of ScholarRx.
How might education change in terms of teaching strategy as a result of the coronavirus?
Most schools already had lecture-recording capabilities where many students were watching the talks online, and we expect a lot of this to continue even after the pandemic subsides. We’ve also seen a huge interest in pre-built curriculum systems like our ScholarRx Bricks which has more than doubled in usage since the pandemic started. The primary strategy here is to use them as part of a “flipped classroom” where curated pre-work is assigned before a live session where the instructor works with the students to apply what they’ve learned.
With regards to specific teaching activities:
- Lecture-based classes can continue as normal online with pre-recorded lectures or using video platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams for live teaching. While video conferencing is not ideal, the breakout and chat tools can sometimes allow for better student engagement versus a traditional classroom.
- Small group teaching is workable using video platforms, but not as fulfilling because of the lack of physical proximity in the group.
- Teaching clinical skills is very hard–it requires hands-on contact, usually in very small labs. There are no good solutions for this as of yet.
- Communications training is easier, but still problematic to do by video, since many miss nonverbal cues.
- Clinical training in hospitals and offices is challenging given social distancing rules, disruptive disinfection protocols, and limited PPE. Additionally, many hospitals do not consider medical students as essential to care, limiting their access to patients. Many schools are using online clinical case training platforms, but that’s not a substitute for hands-on clinical education.
How might school education change in terms of virtual learning?
There will be more virtual learning, particularly in the non-clinical phases of training, as has been seen at undergraduate universities. This group of students has grown up with video and multimedia, so it is not a limitation per se. However, many faculty don’t have adequate experience in developing instructionally sound online learning experiences. This is where schools and individual instructors may look to curricular platforms like ScholarRx, which are designed from the ground up for digital learning.