Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and learning in health professional education: a mixed methods study protocol

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Due to the complex nature of healthcare professionals’ roles and responsibilities, the education of this workforce is multifaceted and challenging. It relies on various sources of learning from teachers, peers, patients and may focus on Work Integrated Learning (WIL). The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of these learning opportunities especially those in large groups or involving in person interaction with peers and patients. Much of the curriculum has been adapted to an online format, the long-term consequence of which is yet to be recognized. The changed format is likely to impact learning pedagogy effecting both students and teachers. This requires a systematic approach to evaluation of online teaching and learning adaptation, in comparison to the previous format, where, in person education may have been the focus. Methods: The proposed study is a broad based evaluation of health professional education in a major Australian University. The protocol describes a mixed methods convergent design to evaluate the impact of online education on students and teachers in health professional courses including Medicine, Nursing, Allied Health and Biomedical Science. A framework, developed at the university, using Contribution Analysis (CA), will guide the evaluation. Quantitative data relating to student performance, student evaluation of units, quantity of teaching activities and resource utilization will be collected and subjected to relevant statistical analysis. Data will be collected through surveys (500 students and 100 teachers), focus groups (10 groups of students) and interviews of students and teachers (50 students beyond graduation and 25 teachers, for long term follow up to 12 months). Application of CA will be used to answer the key research questions on the short term and long-term impact of online education on teaching and learning approaches. Discussion: The protocol describes the study, which will be widely implemented over the various courses in Health Professional Education and Biomedical Science. It will evaluate how students and teachers engage with the online delivery of the curriculum, student performance, and resources used to implement these changes. It also aims to evaluate longitudinal outcome of student learning attributes and impact on graduate outcomes, which is poorly reported in educational literature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number439
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2021


  • Distance education
  • E-learning
  • Evaluation
  • Face-to-face
  • Graduate outcome
  • Online curriculum
  • Readiness
  • Remote learning
  • Work-based

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