Journal of Surgical Simulation 2021; 8: A: 25 - 25

Published: 30 June 2021


Meeting abstract

Special Issue: Virtual learning during COVID-19 pandemic amongst medical students in the UK

O. Jayawardena, S. Toh, H. Fowler, M. Fok and R. Clifford
Corresponding author: Toh Steven, Countess of Chester Hospital, Chester, UK. Email:


Introduction: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic medical education has predominantly been delivered through virtual learning. This survey was conducted to evaluate the popularity of virtual learning and its perceived effectiveness amongst medical students.

Methods: An online anonymised SurveyMonkey survey was distributed amongst UK medical students. The survey was shared through social media.

Results: There were 142 completed surveys, with 96.5% of students engaging in some form of virtual learning during the pandemic, compared to 57.8% prior to the pandemic. The most frequently used methods to deliver teaching were interactive online lectures (74.7%), pre-recorded online lectures (71.8%) and small group online teaching sessions (69%). The students perceived small group online teaching sessions to be the most effective delivery method (weighted average 7.4/10) followed by interactive online lectures (7.4/10). The least effective teaching methods were online lecture notes (5.3/10) and online meetings with supervisors (6.6/10). Although enhanced flexibility (8.4/10) and effective time management (6.8/10) were considered to be advantages of virtual learning, accessibility to coursework was noted to be the biggest advantage (8.6/10). Overall 40.4% of students felt virtual learning had a positive impact on their education compared to 44% who felt it had a negative impact on their learning, with 23% of students considered to have failed to meet the learning objectives set out in these sessions.  

Conclusion: Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic virtual learning will continue to play a role in medical education. However, there is significant room for improvement in both delivery and engagement to improve student experience and satisfaction.


virtual learning; undergraduate teaching; medical students

Additional Information

This presentation was given at the SES 2020 online conference, 4 July 2020.