Is e-learning here to stay after COVID?

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Panelists shared their experiences of teaching while maintaining safe distances throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They said that while in-person learning still has value, the pandemic has created opportunities for ultrasound educators to use more resources for virtual teaching while providing students with hands-on skills experience.


“Hopefully we can take some of the things we’ve learned this year with us, such as the uses of assessment and the use of these virtual sources, and test their value online,” the moderator said. panel, Dr. Creagh Boulger of The Ohio State University. .

While virtual teaching may not have been on the cards for many educators before the pandemic, institutions have been forced to quickly switch to this model to provide education during difficult times. Boulger said the pandemic has created an increased sense of community when it comes to education and patient care.



Panelists discuss ways they have had to adapt their teaching models to virtual learning, as well as why certain virtual learning components may become permanent for ultrasound programs. From left to right: Dr Creagh Boulger, Dr Cristiana Baloescu, Dr Yale Tung Chen and Dr Shweta Bhatt.


However, virtual teaching has proven that it can be used for more than just distance education when “used smartly” and with a variety of presenters. Previous studies have suggested that such teaching methods are effective. Panelists also said that in some ways, virtual tools have made teaching easier.


Dr Yale Tung Chen of La Paz University Hospital in Madrid said he has not been giving in-person classes to his students these days since the pandemic hit.


“I always send the students, residents, or fellows to do the teaching part. I don’t give them my materials because there are so many great resources out there,” he said. “They have to read the basic readings, then I teach the practical parts and they show me what they’ve learned.”


Another benefit of virtual learning, researchers say, is earning continuing medical education (CME) credits without having to travel long distances.


“They don’t have to go to a meeting if they don’t want to,” said Dr. Shweta Bhatt of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. “They [students] can stay home and get those credits.”


Bhatt also said the pandemic has created a situation where students interact in real time with professors online rather than waiting for feedback.


“With Zoom, wherever the professors are, they have no way out,” she said. “They’re supposed to log in, send a Zoom link to residents and read alongside them, so it’s as good as a live reading. I think it’s a useful thing that will probably stick around.”


AIUM panelists said virtual learning, however, cannot replace some of the more hands-on skill opportunities, such as bedside learning. Along with this, they said in-person learning promotes the social aspect of medical work.


“It gives them [students] the ability to network and interact, which are essential,” said Dr Cristiana Baloescu of Yale University.

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