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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 167-170

Perception of faculty and students about E-learning – its feasibility, acceptance, and implementation in COVID pandemic crisis


Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission12-Feb-2021
Date of Decision28-Mar-2021
Date of Acceptance20-Jul-2021
Date of Web Publication04-Oct-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vineeta Pande
Department of Pediatrics, Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_25_21

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  Abstract 


Context: The study aimed to understand the perception of faculty and undergraduate students toward E-learning and its acceptance and feasibility during the corona pandemic. Aim: It aimed at collecting suggestions to improve the teaching–learning process. Settings and Design: This was an online survey conducted using Google Forms. Subjects and Methods: Responses were sought from participants through Google Forms and their feedback was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire which had 14 items including demographic profile, platform used for online teaching–learning, advantages, comfort level, usefulness of platform, challenges faced, and suggestions for improvement. Statistical Analysis Used: Statistical Analysis was done by using IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 26.0. Results: Responses were sought from a total of 447 (436 + 11) participants through Google Forms. Out of 447 participants, 321 responses (71%; 95% confidence interval [CI]; 67.5–75.8) were recorded and their feedback was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire which had 14 items including demographic profile, platform used for online teaching–learning, advantages, comfort level, usefulness of platform, challenges faced, and suggestions for improvement. The response rate was 71.4%% (95% CI; 67.5–75.8). About 81% (95% CI; 67.5-75.8) of participants were happy with the ongoing online teaching–learning. About 52.9% (95% CI; 47.3–58.6) are using Google Classroom, 32.2% (95% CI; 27–37.6) are using video-based platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Cisco Webex. About 53.6% (95% CI; 48–59.2) of participants viewed Google Classroom as the best platform, whereas 44.1% (95% CI; 38.5–49.7) favored video-based platforms for teaching–learning. Conclusions: Online classes were found acceptable by most of the students and faculty. The positive feedback and suggestions helped in the planning of E-learning classes in the existing curriculum for future.

Keywords: E-learning, Google Classroom, video-based platforms


How to cite this article:
Menon P, Pande V, Jadhav S, Agarkhedkar S. Perception of faculty and students about E-learning – its feasibility, acceptance, and implementation in COVID pandemic crisis. J Mar Med Soc 2021;23:167-70

How to cite this URL:
Menon P, Pande V, Jadhav S, Agarkhedkar S. Perception of faculty and students about E-learning – its feasibility, acceptance, and implementation in COVID pandemic crisis. J Mar Med Soc [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 3];23:167-70. Available from: https://www.marinemedicalsociety.in/text.asp?2021/23/2/167/327527




  Introduction Top


Medical graduates of the 21st century are expected to be up to date with the latest technology. Medical Council of India, Vision 2015, advises the use of E-learning to make the students lifelong learners.[1] E-learning can be defined as the use of electronic technology as a teaching–learning method, which involves interaction with teachers and learners. It provides easy and effective information to students.[2] Technology-assisted E-learning gives flexibility to the learner in today's fast dynamic world. The need for the hour is to have many digitally literate teachers and students incorporate this teaching–learning method in the existing curriculum. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, classroom lectures and clinical trainings were stopped. Hence, the need for online classes was felt and E-learning platforms were explored. As virtual classes started, we wanted to get feedback and improve the teaching–learning process. It was also important to address the challenges faced. The study was undertaken with the aim to understand the extent of acceptance and gather feedback of faculty and students in respect of online classes. This will also find solutions to online classes which will be helpful in better implementation.


  Subjects and Methods Top


Corona pandemic disrupted regular classes in the medical college that has made teachers look for viable alternatives. Online sessions were thought of and planned to reach out to the students and make sure that the syllabus is covered on time. The faculty and students were trained through video-based platforms such as Zoom (free version), Cisco Webex, Skype, Google Classroom, and Google Groups. There were 11 faculty members and 436 undergraduate students of pediatrics department. Free version was used of Zoom which allows maximum of 100 participants and for time period of 40 min. Permission for the study has been obtained from the Institutional Ethics Committee. Consent of participants was obtained through the Google Forms. The Google Forms was designed as a semi-structured questionnaire which had 14 items including demographic profile, platform used for online teaching–learning, advantages, comfort level, usefulness of platform, challenges faced, and suggestions for improvement.

To understand the perspective of the teachers and students regarding online teaching, the survey was conducted with 447 people which included 11 faculty and 436 students of pediatrics department. Google Forms was created to collect the responses. Data were recorded on a Google Excel sheet and analyzed using Statistical Analysis was done by using IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 26.0.


  Results Top


The sessions were attended by 436 students on Google Classroom and video sessions by 80–100 students in groups. Assignments were also given from time to time through Google Forms. The response rate was 71.4%% (95% confidence interval [CI]; 67.5–75.8). As shown in [Figure 1], 81% (95% CI; 67.5–75.8) of participants were happy with the ongoing online teaching–learning. [Figure 2] shows that 52.9% (95% CI; 47.3–58.6) are using Google Classroom, 32.2% (95% CI; 27–37.6) are using video-based platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Cisco Webex. About 53.6% (95% CI; 48–59.2) of participants viewed Google Classroom as the best platform, while 44.1% (95% CI; 38.5–49.7) favored video-based platforms for teaching–learning [Figure 3]. The students found online classes to be a comfortable mode of studying during the corona pandemic as there was no need to commute, and it makes sure that studies are not hampered by the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, the norm of physical distancing is inherently followed. Students felt that they could correct their mistakes and redo their submissions with great ease. They could also utilize as well as manage their time in a much more efficient manner. This type of teaching makes students more productive and helps them remain occupied. Students felt that E-learning has given them the space and flexibility to learn at their own pace and schedule.
Figure 1: Are you happy with E-learning?

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Figure 2: Type of platform used for E-learning

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Figure 3: Best platform for teaching

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The advantages of E-learning listed out by 77.1% of participants (95% CI; 72.2–81.6) comprised flexibility: 28%, convenience: 33%, helpful in revision: 9%, and helpful in pandemic to maintain social distancing: 18%. About 10% of the participants did not find any advantages of E-learning. The students, as well as faculty, found E-learning to be time-saving and useful-cum-efficient in the time of the pandemic.

The difficulties associated with E-learning were cited by 82.5% of participants (95% CI; 77.9–86.4) such as network and technical issues with data limitations: 31%, less interaction: 15%, eye strain: 5%, while 16.5% did not face any problems.

Our faculty initially found E-learning to be very challenging and were not ready to adopt this mode. However, they got acquainted with it by learning various aspects of it each day and got a better hold of using E-learning platforms. However, they faced problems with unresponsiveness of students during online classes and found it difficult to monitor them. It was also difficult to understand their concerns through the online medium. The faculty found it difficult to teach psychomotor skills online. Online teaching is suitable for classes that are theoretical in nature, but they are not very feasible for practical clinical training. The difficulties faced were listed as limitation on the number of participants who could participate in the sessions, limited time of the sessions, and technical errors such as those related to network and connectivity. Our experience shows that the senior faculty members were more motivated than the junior ones. The training on E-learning was first imparted to the senior faculty who, in turn, assisted the junior faculty members. Some of the responses of the students were positive. They opined that the recorded lecture can be viewed by anybody, any number of times with own comfort and pace. There is no disturbance from the other students. This is the only cost-effective and eco-friendly way of learning. Time efficient and ppt are available after most lectures. It is just helping the students to be in touch with the subject flexibly. One of the great responses was “One can redo the things by correcting the mistakes on platforms like Google Classroom; can rewind, fast forward, etc., which helps one understand the topic better.”

It is safe, very interesting, interactive, one-to-one learning, convenient program, and learning process. It gives a better experience and better understanding even at home. The students have feeling of personalization of study material. “Online teaching and learning has some benefits and limitations, benefits are more. For medical education this has been a boon for continuity and consistency particularly in prevailing situation.”

We also looked at the disadvantages of online classes. Few students found E-learning to not be very fruitful. Unlike the conventional classroom teaching mode, online classrooms lacked one-on-one interaction with the lecturer and lacked in providing an open learning environment where students' doubts could be cleared. However, it is understandable that in the given circumstances, E-learning is the most viable option.

Suggestions by 64.9% (95% CI; 59.4–70.1) of participants included recording of lectures conducted through video-based platforms, increasing assignments, discussion, and interaction, using paid versions of various online platforms to accommodate more participants, have access to better features to enhance the online interaction and monitoring of students. These problems were addressed by buying advanced version of the software that allows unlimited use. The students also suggested that recorded videos should be uploaded online for better explanation of the topic. Making previous years' question papers available for online viewing would help the students prepare better. They also wanted access to videos of doctors treating and managing patients as this would enhance their learning. Online E-learning is extremely crucial in the pandemic but should not replace the time-tested conventional classroom teaching, especially in the medical field. Suggestions by students also included that e-learning should be blended with conventional teaching and adopted as a regular part of the curriculum. Although there is no comparison with traditional teaching, online classes were useful in periods of lockdown for the sake of physical distancing.


  Discussion Top


The success of online teaching/learning depends on many factors. Both students' and teachers' perspectives are important to make it effective.[3] “Cultural resistance” of staff toward E-learning is identified as a barrier to student engagement with technology-based education. Hence, initiatives in favor of faculty orientation and training in respect of E-learning are necessary to successfully introduce E-learning programs. Orientation and training programs were carried on in our college as part of our medical education activities. Our faculty found difficulties in the beginning and there was reluctance, but gradually, they became familiar with this mode. However, they observed that the students were unresponsive at times and it was difficult to understand if they had any concerns. It is suitable for theoretical classes but not for clinical/practical training. The World Health Organization and United Nations Children Emergency Fund report 2017 confirms the feasibility and effectiveness of online training for health care professionals in respect to essential newborn care. Nearly 3500 physicians and over 1000 nursing professionals were trained in 12 sick newborn care courses and five essential newborn care courses.[4],[5]

Technology now plays an important role in educational transformation. The online learning platforms provide a reasonable combination of accessibility of knowledge with learner flexibility and interactivity. This learner-centered approach, also called asynchronous E-learning,[6] can help to balance professional development with personal and work commitments. Our students' responses were very similar to these studies. Stewart et al. in 2013 found that the group of medical students who received blended learning which had an online component in addition to the conventional teaching achieved a significantly higher mean score in a module for teaching newborn physical examination skills than the control group.[7] This was also a suggestion from our students that online classes should be continued even after the lockdown period. E-learning has become an important aspect of the current undergraduate curriculum wherein reports of shortage of medical teachers have been reported.[8] The adoption of the same within medical colleges is expected to promote self-directed and lifelong learning. Thus, it will benefit both the teachers as well as the students.[9] A similar experience shared by Scagnoli et al. shows the importance of online training in the COVID pandemic for pediatric undergraduate students.[10] Flexibility of E-learning provides information to the students beyond the specified timings of teaching in class and gives them freedom to read and learn whenever they feel the need for the same. The same was documented in a Nigerian study and this point was also highlighted by our students.[11] Apart from the fruitful use of the lockdown period in the corona pandemic, the present study revealed the acceptability of the online learning mode by the students and faculty with few suggestions.


  Conclusions Top


We conclude that online teaching is possible and acceptable as a complementary method to the traditional or conventional method of medical teaching in India as a normal part of the curriculum, irrespective of the lockdown period. The study will be helpful in planning online classes for undergraduate students of medicine for didactic lectures and blended teaching–learning method will be the best solution.

Acknowledgment

The authors would like to thank Dean of Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Pune.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
MCI Vision 2015 Booklet. Medical Council of India. Available from:https://ww.mciindia.org/tools/announcement/MCI_booklet.pdf. [Last accessed on 2016 Jun 18].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Mooney G, Bligh J. Information technology in medical education: Current and future applications a shift in medical education practice from traditional forms of teaching to other media which employ online, distance or electronic learning.Postgrad Med J. 1997 Nov;73(865):701-4. doi: 10.1136/pgmj.73.865.701.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Bediang G, Stoll B, Geissbuhler A, Klohn AM, Stuckelberger A, Nko'o S, et al. Computer literacy and E-learning perception in Cameroon: The case of yaounde faculty of medicine and biomedical sciences. BMC Med Educ 2013;13:1-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
WHO, UNICEF Report. Reaching the Every Newborn National 2020 Milestones Country Progress, Plans and Moving Forward. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Thukral A, Sasi A, Chawla D, Datta P, Wahid S, Rao S, et al. Online neonatal training and orientation programme in india (ontop-in)–1/nthe way forward for distance education in developing countries. J Trop Pediatr 2012;58:486-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Dobrow MJ, Neeson J, Sullivan T. Canadian chief executives' prescription for higher quality: More clinical engagement, shared accountability and capacity development. Healthc Q 2011;14:18-21.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Stewart A, Inglis G, Jardine L, Koorts P, Davies MW. A randomised controlled trial of blended learning to improve the newborn examination skills of medical students. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2013;98:F141-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Dhir SK, Verma D, Batta M, Mishra D. E-Learning in medical education in India. Indian Pediatr 2017;54:871-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Vaona A, Banzi R, Kwag KH, Rigon G, Cereda D, Pecoraro V, et al. E-learning for health professionals. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018;1:CD011736.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Scagnoli NI, Choo J, Tian J. Students' insights on the use of video lectures in online classes. Br J Educ Technol 2019;50:399-414.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Obi IE, Charles-Okoli AN, Agunwa CC, Omotowo BI, Ndu AC, Agwu-Umahi OR. E-learning readiness from perspectives of medical students: A survey in Nigeria. Niger J Clin Pract 2018;21:293-300.  Back to cited text no. 11
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