BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted education in myriad ways, primarily leading to an abrupt paradigm shift in teaching and learning practices towards distance learning . The study aims to assess the effectiveness of teaching radiology to undergraduate medical students using synchronous distance learning compared to traditional on-campus learning through exploring students' perceived satisfaction and concerns . Students' perceptions were correlated with their attendance, grades, and frequency of technical difficulties .
METHODS: The study was designed as an observational study involving fourth-year medical students (2019/2020) from two institutions . The cohort students were exposed to traditional learning, distance learning, or both . Students completed an online self-administered questionnaire concerning their perceptions of distance learning . Students' attendance, engagement, technical difficulties, and post-clerkship knowledge assessments were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics .
RESULTS: A total of 145 participants completed the clerkship using the following strategies: traditional learning (n = 66), both traditional and distance learning (n = 67), and distance learning alone (n = 12). The most important result indicates that the abrupt transition to distance learning was well perceived . Most students preferred distance learning over traditional learning in the radiology clerkship (p = .05). During the synchronous sessions, student attendance was high, reaching to 100% . Technical difficulties were limited (1.9 %), and they did not affect learning .
CONCLUSION: Synchronous distance teaching promotes learning, interaction, and enjoyment in undergraduate radiology education, and it can be as effective as traditional on-campus learning . The technical difficulties encountered, although they were limited, can be overcome by recording the synchronous sessions.
Index: Distance learning, E-learning, Medical education, Radiology, Undergraduate