Technology Enabled Delivery of Medical Programmes through ODL : A Case of Training Medical Doctors in Geriatric Medicine
COVID-19 provided an opportunity to experiment with alternative delivery mechanisms for a medical education programme offered through open and distance learning with face-to-face training as an essential component of the programme. Non-availability of hard copies of the course material (92%) and lack of communication from the university (32%) as well as training centres (42%) were some of the challenges faced by students of the Geriatric Medicine programme of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) during the COVID pandemic. Around 90% were willing to attend online classes and 65% to 77% were willing to present cases online for discussion. A programme-specific web portal containing all resource material and information was visited by 85% of students. Most students attended the online classes and 68% attempted the formative assessments based on the online classes. Online classes were recorded and uploaded and were found useful by 90% of students. The experiment successfully demonstrated the feasibility and acceptance of delivering practical skills using online technological tools. Further integrating technology to complement some of the face-to-face component could be used as a permanent and effective delivery strategy, which could also reduce resource requirements.