We read with interest the article, Preparing and responding to 2019 novel coronavirus with simulation and technology-enhanced learning for healthcare professionals: challenges and opportunities in China (1) echoing the old adage ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ in relation to remote-site clinical education. Disruption to all levels of education have sparked initiatives as described by Li et al and have exposed the stark lack of a global coordinated mitigation plan. Lessons learned during the current crisis will re-shape our view of traditional clinical teaching theory and delivery. Distance learning is likely to become the norm in the post Covid-19 era and innovative simulation tools are set to enhance these platforms (2).
Our experiences in ophthalmology reinforce the notion that pedagogy follows technology in producing robust, validated and clinically relevant higher level education in the surgical specialties (3). We foresee a growing global imperative to ensure continued development of cost-effective, accessible, high quality alternatives to on-campus face to face clinical learning to supplement, and in some cases supplant current programmes. These are likely to include asynchronous discussion boards, reflective e-portfolios, remote site assessments and developing home microsurgical simulators (personal communication, Brennan P). Covid-19 has revealed, on a global scale, both our human frailties and resilience.
Notwithstanding the tragic human tol...
Notwithstanding the tragic human toll of Covid-19, necessity can give birth to invention. Harnessing new teaching and assessment tools borne out of this crisis have the capability to both save lives and sustain the educational needs of students worldwide.
1. Li L, Lin M, Wang X, et al. Preparing and responding to 2019 novel coronavirus with simulation and technology-enhanced learning for healthcare professionals: challenges and opportunities in China. BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning Published Online First: 11 March 2020. doi: 10.1136/bmjstel-2020-000609
2. Pottle J1. Virtual reality and the transformation of medical education. Future Healthc J. 2019;6(3):181-185.
3. Smith P, Wigmore S, Paisley A et al. Distance Learning Improves Attainment of Professional Milestones in the Early Years of Surgical Training Ann Surg. 2013; 258(5): 838–843.