Adapting to remote health professional education during the COVID-19 pandemic: Student and academic perspectives

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Introduction/background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, universities across the world transitioned to remote education. A rapid shift to remote education from traditional in-person delivery is likely to impact how students navigate their learning and how academics experience teaching online.
Aim/objectives: To explore: (a) how students and academics of health courses adapt to remote education; (b) what challenges they encounter adapting to remote education, and (c) how these challenges contribute to their educational experiences.
Methods: Drawing on pragmatism, a sequential mixed-methods design was adopted. An online survey followed by interviews with students and academics of five large health courses at an Australian research-intensive university were undertaken. Data included 476 surveys and seven focus group interviews with 22 students, and 95 surveys and 17 individual interviews with academics. Student and academic data were analysed separately and then compared.
Results: A validated measure of adaptability (Adaptability Scale) indicates academics adapted to remote education better compared to students. For both students and academics, factors of an interpersonal nature (e.g. lack of interactions and personal relationship, and impersonal nature of online education) and increased workload were the major challenges. The qualitative data highlighted that while poor mental health, lack of social learning and physical absence in the educational process are the key consequences of these challenges, student use of self-discipline strategies and academic support through compassionate pedagogy contributed to addressing them.
Discussion: Our results attest to the important role of adaptability and the significant challenges experienced by students and academics in learning and teaching due to the need to rapidly adjust to the changes and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Conclusions: Navigating the challenges associated with remote education provided students and academics with a unique opportunity to improve adaptability—an attribute more readily viewed in the face of future uncertainties.


ConferenceAustralian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleANZAHPE 2021
Cityvirtual conference
OtherANZAHPE Festival 2021
Theme: Moving forward in ambiguity
Internet address

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