Scielo RSS <![CDATA[African Journal of Health Professions Education]]> vol. 14 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>... And then there was COVID!</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>An innovative educational strategy for learning and teaching clinical skills during the COVID-19 pandemic</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Educational institutions were compelled to adapt their educational strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The innovation of boot camps as a strategy for learning and teaching clinical skills was applied by a school of nursing immediately after the hard lockdown in South AfricaOBJECTIVES: To describe the outcomes of implementing an innovative educational strategy for the learning and teaching of clinical skills in an undergraduate nursing programmeMETHODS: The study comprised a parallel convergent mixed-methods design. Qualitative data were collected from educators (n=7) involved with the boot camps, while the quantitative data comprised module evaluations by 219 students and summative practical assessment scores. Thematic analysis through an inductive approach was applied for the qualitative data, while central tendency and frequencies were used to analyse the quantitative dataRESULTS: Three themes emerged from the narrative data, i.e. rationalising the boot camps, executing the boot camps and learning from the boot camps. Quantitative data support each of the themes. The boot camps appeared to have been appreciated as an emergency innovative educational strategy, with improved student assessment outcomesCONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic forced education institutions to adopt a variety of innovative educational strategies. Boot camps appear to have positively influenced the learning and teaching of clinical skills at a school of nursing. There is a need for robust longitudinal research evaluating the long-term effect of such innovative educational strategies <![CDATA[<b>Justice as fairness in preparing for emergency remote teaching: A case from Botswana</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated drastic changes to undergraduate medical training at the University of Botswana (UB). To save the academic year when campus was locked down, the Department of Medical Education conducted a needs assessment to determine the readiness for emergency remote teaching (ERT) of the Faculty of Medicine, UBOBJECTIVES: To report on the findings of needs assessment surveys to assess learner and teaching staff preparedness for fair and just ERT, as defined by philosopher John RawlsMETHODS: Needs assessment surveys were conducted using Office 365 Forms distributed via WhatsApp, targeting medical students and teaching staff during the 5 undergraduate years. Data were analysed quantitatively and qualitativelyRESULTS: Ninety-two percent (266/289) of students and 73.5% (62/84) of teaching staff responded. Surveys revealed a high penetration of smartphones among students, but poor internet accessibility and affordability in homes. Some teaching staff also reported internet and device insufficiencies. Only WhatsApp was accessible to students and teaching staffCONCLUSIONS: For equitable access to ERT in the future, the surveys revealed infrastructural improvement needs, including wider, stronger, affordable WiFi coverage within Botswana and enhanced digital infrastructures in educational institutions, with increased support for students <![CDATA[<b>Teaching and learning considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic: Supporting multimodal student learning preferences</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The advent of COVID-19 and the subsequent national lockdown has catapulted higher education institutions into emergency remote teaching (ERT). A principal challenge in this shift is the ability to stimulate student interest towards engagement with, and retention of, course content. The creation of teaching and learning (T) resources and activities using a combination of the visual, aural, read/write and kinaesthetic (VARK) modes is fundamental in ensuring student engagementOBJECTIVES: To determine the learning style profiles of undergraduate students and to explore how student learning profiles may be incorporated in T approaches during ERTMETHODS: This descriptive study profiles the learning preferences of undergraduate students in a health science faculty using the VARK questionnaire. The study further outlines modifications in T implemented to support the varied learning preferences during the COVID-19 ERT responseRESULTS: Our findings demonstrate that the majority of our students have a multimodal learning preference, with the kinaesthetic modality being the most preferred. Voice-over PowerPoint presentations with transitioning images, and audio files, supported the visual and aural learners through asynchronous engagement. Additionally, online discussion forums and applied projects (such as theme park designs) enhanced asynchronous learning by stimulating the visual, read/write and kinaesthetic preferences, respectively. Microsoft Team sessions with PowerPoint presentations supported visual and aural learning preferences through synchronous engagementCONCLUSIONS: Rethinking traditional T approaches towards supporting the diverse student learning preferences is critical in student-centred T amidst the many challenges that ERT has precipitated. Academics need to be dynamic in their T approaches and intuitive in their awareness of how subject content may be modified/enhanced in the ERT environment <![CDATA[<b>Module evaluation for emergency remote teaching: An oral hygiene case study during the COVID-19 pandemic</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in emergency remote teaching, with limited student contact time. For programmes with strong clinical and community-based requirements, such as the Bachelor of Oral Health, one had to be innovative to meet module outcomesOBJECTIVES: To (i) evaluate the curriculum and pedagogy of two diverse modules in the second year; and (ii) explore contextual factors affecting teaching and learningMETHODS: This evaluation study used a mixed-methods design. The sample comprised lecturers (n=3), clinical teachers (n=2), students (n=29) and documents for analysis. The modified concept-indicator method and the emergency remote teaching environment frameworks guided the data collection process. Tools included questionnaires, a focus group discussion and document analysis. Quantitative data were presented as frequencies and qualitative data were themedRESULTS: Student participation for the OHP213 module was 76% (n=19) and 68% for the LOS200 module (n=19). All the lecturers (n=3) participated. Overall, the content and teaching and learning specialists were satisfied with the modules, but made suggestions for improvement. Student experiences highlighted diversity in their learning styles and challenges, while lecturers articulated challenges and emphasised affordances during this periodCONCLUSIONS: The curricula were generally found to be aligned in terms of outcomes, content and assessment. Emergency remote teaching presented affordances from the perspective of students and lecturers, which could be explored further. If online teaching were to be a feature of university education, the affordances highlighted by students and staff may argue for a revised hybrid approach to delivering an oral health programme. However, such a system would require thorough research, with the necessary support built into the university as an ecosystem <![CDATA[<b>Undergraduate dental students' perspectives on teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: Results from an online survey conducted at a South African university using a mixed-methods approach</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Many institutions of higher education transitioned from classroom-based settings to remote settings as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is unclear how undergraduate dental therapy and oral hygiene students responded to this transition in the learning environmentOBJECTIVES: To explore undergraduate dental students' knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and practices related to clinical and theory-based learning at a South African universityMETHODS: A mixed-methods approach comprising a concurrent dominant status design (QUAN/qual) was used. Therefore, the study was a cross-sectional quantitative survey with descriptive qualitative data. An online, self-administered questionnaire with open- and closed-ended questions was developed to gain insights into students' knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and learning practices during the COVID-19 pandemicRESULTS: Most respondents (n=86; 80.4%) agreed that they had the necessary skills to engage with online learning (p=0.04). Respondents in the first year (n=25; 76%), second year (n=24; 73%) and third year (n=32; 28%) were either unsure or did not agree that they understood online platform-based lectures better than classroom-based lectures. The major emergent themes included external (internet connectivity) and internal (students' coping skills) barriers to online learningCONCLUSIONS: This study highlighted dental student challenges in embracing the blended approach of teaching and learning. While this may be a new norm for curriculum delivery, it is important to include student input in curriculum-related decision-making processes <![CDATA[<b>The effect of the initial months of the COVID-19 national lockdown on MMed training activities at the University of the Free State, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Shortly after the first case of SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19) had been reported in South Africa, a national lockdown was declared. Subsequently, the University of the Free State (UFS) changed from a contact delivery mode to remote multimodal teaching, learning and assessmentOBJECTIVES: To determine the effect of the initial months of the COVID-19 lockdown on MMed training activities at the UFS, specifically the demographic and health profile of students, research progress, academic activities and the clinical training environmentMETHODS: A cross-sectional study using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire was used. All registered MMed students at the UFS were eligible to participateRESULTS: A response was obtained from 134 (51.9%) of 258 registrars, most of whom were included in the analysis (n=118; 45.7%). Significant associations between the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on day-to-day clinical work and the ability to work on MMed research (p<0.01) and self-directed learning time (p<0.01) were noted. Changes in domestic circumstances affecting MMed research were reported by 26.9% of respondents. Worsening or new symptoms of stress were reported by 40.0% of respondentsCONCLUSION: The initial months of the COVID-19 lockdown might have far-reaching implications for registrars' academic progress. Registrars experienced adverse psychosocial consequences that might impede their academic progress