Korean Med Educ Rev.  2021 Feb;23(1):46-55. 10.17496/kmer.2021.23.1.46.

A  Qualitative  Study  on  the  Perceptions  and  Learning  Behavior  of  Medical Students  in  Online  Classes

  • 1Department of Medical Education, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Since the emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), medical schools have experienced a sudden, full-scale transition to online classes. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is important to evaluate current educational programs and to assess their implications. This study explored perceptions of online classes and learning behavior among medical students. Twenty preclinical medical students were interviewed in focus groups for 2 months. They generally expressed positive perceptions about online classes, and in particular, positively assessed the ability to lead their individual lifestyles and study in comfortable environments with fewer time and space constraints. Students thought that the online environment provided a fair chance of facilitating positive interactions with the professor and considered communication with the professor to be an important factor only when it was related to the class content or directly helped with their grades and careers. Students also had negative views, such as feeling uncertain when they could not see their peers' learning progress and assess themselves in comparison and feeling social isolation. Learning behaviors have also changed, as students explored their learning styles and adapted to the changed learning environment. Students expanded their learning by using online functions. However, students sometimes abused the online class format by “just playing” the lecture while not paying attention and relying on other students’ lecture transcripts to study. The results of this study are hoped to provide a useful foundation for future research on online class-based teaching and learning.


Attitude; Curriculum; Medical education; Medical student; Perception
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