Students' Perspectives on Online Medical Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Pathology, Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar (Nuh), India

2 Department of Anatomy, Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar (Nuh), India

3 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar (Nuh), India

4 Department of Psychiatry, Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar (Nuh), India

5 Department of Physiology, Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar (Nuh), India


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have contributed to the rise of new digital platforms for online education worldwide. This mode of teaching has its own merits and drawbacks. Yet, it is increasingly recognized as the only viable method of instruction during the pandemic. This study sought to evaluate students’ perceptions of different aspects of online teaching in pandemic times. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 257 undergraduate medical students during October 2020. Their informed consent was obtained, and a validated researcher-made questionnaire with 51 closed-ended items was distributed among them using Google Forms. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 22, and all the statistical tests were conducted at a significance level of 5%. Results: Findings revealed that 241 students (93.8%) attended online classes using smartphones, whereas only 4 students (1.6%) used laptops. Most students (n=164, 63.8%) were conversant with the use of internet/online apps (p <0.0001). Also, a majority (n=156, 60.7%) disagreed with the time-saving benefit of online classes, and 29 students (11.3%) argued that live lectures offered greater scope for connection with teachers as compared to online classes. Finally, 209 students (81.3%) believed that they were less attentive in online lectures than in live lectures, and 180 (70.1%) were not willing to attend these lectures after the pandemic. Conclusion: Although online teaching is a very powerful and effective means of teaching in this pandemic, it was observed that students were less favorable toward online classes due to non-availability of books, technical problems and network connectivity issues. It is worth noting that working with live patients in real clinical settings is vital to medical education and cannot be fully replaced by e-learning.


Rajab MH, Gazal AM, Alkattan K. Challenges to Online Medical Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Cureus. 2020 Jul 2; 12 (7):e8966. doi:10.7759/cureus.8966
Dwivedi D, Kaur N, Shukla S, Gandhi A, Tripathi S. Perception of stress among medical undergraduate during coronavirus disease-19 pandemic on exposure to online teaching. Natl J Physiol Pharm Pharmacol 2020;10(08):657-662. doi:10.5455/njppp.2020.10.05107202009052020
Arkorful V, Abaidoo N. The role of e-learning, advantages and disadvantages of its adoption in higher education. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning. 2015 Jan;12(1):29-42.
Rapanta C, Botturi L, Goodyear P, Guàrdia L, Koole M. Online university teaching during and after the Covid-19 crisis: Refocusing teacher presence and learning activity. Postdigital Science and Education. 2020 Oct;2(3):923-45. doi:10.1007/s42438-020-00155-y
Kwary DA, Fauzie S. Students’ achievement and opinions on the implementation of e-learning for phonetics and phonology lectures at Airlangga University. Educ Pesqui. 2018; 44. doi:10.1590/s1678-4634201710173240
Maheshwari S, Zheleva B, Rajasekhar V, Batra B. e-Teaching in pediatric cardiology: A paradigm shift. Ann Pediatr Cardiol. 2015; 8(1):10-13. doi:10.4103/0974-2069.149512
Lawshe CH. A quantitative approach to content validity. Personnel psychology. 1975 Dec 1;28(4):563-75.
Li C, Lalani F. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever. This is how. [Internet]. World  Economic Forum. [Updated 29 Apr. 2020] Available from:
Roberts N, Rees M. Student use of mobile devices in university lectures. Australas J Educ Technol. 2014; 30:4. doi:10.14742/ajet.589
Verma A, Surender Verma S, Garg P, Godara R. Online Teaching During COVID-19: Perception of Medical Undergraduate Students. Indian J Surg. 2020; 82: 299-300. doi:10.1007/s12262-020-02487-2
Swanwick T. Understanding Medical Education: Evidence, Theory, and Practice. 2nd ed. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell; 2010. doi:10.1002/9781444320282
Urresti-Gundlach M, Tolks D, Kiessling C, Wagner-Menghin M, Härtl A, Hege I. Do virtual patients prepare medical students for the real world? Development and application of a framework to compare a virtual patient collection with population data. BMC Med Educ. 2017; 17(1): 174. doi:10.1186/s12909-017-1013-1
Bączek M, Zagańczyk-Bączek M, Szpringer M, Jaroszyński A, Wożakowska-Kapłon B. Students’ perception of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: a survey study of Polish medical students. Medicine. 2021 Feb 19;100 (7). doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000024821  PMid:33607848 PMCid:PMC7899848
Ali NA. Students disappointed with online teaching system amid COVID-19. [Internet] Daily Times [Updated: April 02, 2020]. Available online: Cited on April 02, 2020.
Bao W. COVID‐19 and online teaching in higher education: A case study of Peking University. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies. 2020 Apr;2(2):113-5. doi:10.1002/hbe2.191
Mamattah RS. Students’ Perceptions of E-Learning. 2016. Available online:
Scagnoli NI, Choo J, Tian J. Students' insights on the use of video lectures in online classes. British Journal of Educational Technology. 2019 Jan;50(1):399-414. doi:10.1111/bjet.12572
Bergl PA, Narang A, Arora VM. Maintaining a Twitter feed to advance an internal medicine residency program’s educational mission. JMIR Med Educ. 2015; 1: e5. doi:10.2196/mededu.4434