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Research article Is online objective structured clinical examination teaching an acceptable replacement in post-COVID-19 medical education in the United Kingdom?: a descriptive study
Vashist Motkur1,2*orcid, Aniket Bharadwaj2,3orcid, Nimalesh Yogarajah2,4orcid

Published online: November 7, 2022
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1East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Stevenage, UK

2University College London Medical School, London, UK

3Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK

4West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Watford, UK

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) restrictions resulted in an increased emphasis on virtual communication in medical education. This study assessed the acceptability of virtual teaching in an online objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) series and its role in future education.
Six surgical OSCE stations were designed, covering common surgical topics, with specific tasks testing data interpretation, clinical knowledge, and communication skills. These were delivered via Zoom to students who participated in student/patient/examiner role-play. Feedback was collected by asking students to compare online teaching with previous experiences of in-person teaching. Descriptive statistics were used for Likert response data, and thematic analysis for free-text items.
Sixty-two students provided feedback, with 81% of respondents finding online instructions preferable to paper equivalents. Furthermore, 65% and 68% found online teaching more efficient and accessible, respectively, than in-person teaching. Only 34% found communication with each other easier online. 40% preferred online OSCE teaching to in-person teaching. Students also expressed feedback in positive and negative free-text comments.
The data suggested that generally students were unwilling for online teaching to completely replace in-person teaching. The success of online teaching was dependent on the clinical skill being addressed; some were less amenable to a virtual setting. However, online OSCE teaching could play a role alongside in-person teaching.

JEEHP : Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions