Online Learning is Going Viral during COVID-19 Lockdown, What Lessons do We Take to Guide the Future of Physiotherapy Education? A Cross-Sectional Survey from Teachers'?? Perspectives

Background: Online learning, also referred to as e-learning, is education that takes place over the internet and is the newest and most popular form of distance education today. The long lockdown for the COVID-19 has closed educational institutions and ushered in online learning as a crisis-management tool to continue learning. The global sector of online learning and educational technology is facing the biggest opportunity-and biggest test-of its existence. Electronic medical education has already been widely integrated in developed countries since it has educational value and is broadening the scope of educational programs through multiple educational goals. To date physiotherapy education in India seems to have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution. The adoption of technology is still a new experience for many of us; and teachers all over are struggling to make online learning work. This study aimed to analyze the experience of physiotherapy teachers towards online learning during COVID-19 lockdown. Overall purpose of the present study was to better equip the education sector; and bridge the gap between potential effectiveness and successful implementation of technology in physiotherapy education.

Method: It was a cross-sectional descriptive study conducted during COVID-19 lockdown period (April to May 2020). All physiotherapy teachers affiliated to academic institutions from various universities across India were invited to participate in an online survey. Teachers who undertook online teaching as a part of curriculum for undergraduate or postgraduate students during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown were recruited. It was an online survey administered using self-reported questionnaire. The questionnaire sought to obtain information which includes teacher’s profile details relevant to online learning; methods employed by the teachers in online learning; as well as teacher’s perspectives of this process.

Results and conclusion: A total number of 111 responses were received from  11 universities across the country. This representative sample consisted of both undergraduate and post graduate teachers and with varied number of teaching experience. Remote learning is still a new experience and teachers all over are findings ways to make online learning work. The rapid adjustment has been challenging to quickly migrate all of its in-person courses virtually. The use of educational software programs has increased; however, teachers need to be trained in their effective use. It seems that educational technology mastery is an important neglected competency in faculties. There have been changes and new introductions of e-learning tools. However, it is not paralleled by the education of medical educators regarding digital literacy and e-learning tools. As e-learning continues to be widely integrated in the training of future practitioners, well- designed scientific studies are required to know which technological tools work the best and thus to support evidence based education.



Isha Akulwar Tajane

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