Webinar-based continuing medical education in otorhinolaryngology during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany: a longitudinal study

BMJ Open. 2021 Dec 6;11(12):e049687. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-049687.


Objective: Reliance on webinars for continuing medical education (CME) has increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we aimed to evaluate the teaching methods used in these webinars.

Design: Retrospective, longitudinal study.

Setting: 20 CME-approved webinars, conducted March-December 2020 in Germany, and lasting 2.25 hours each.

Participants: Otorhinolaryngologists pursuing CME credits.

Interventions: Postwebinar participant assessments of the speaker, effects on practical work, desired scientific content, technical quality, interactions, attention and future training behaviour.

Results: On average, 780 participants joined each webinar. The mean survey response rate was 35% (n=282). When asked how well the speaker had mastered the content, 38% responded 'very well', 44% responded 'well', 14% indicated 'satisfactory' and 4% chose 'sufficient'. The frequency of webinars was considered appropriate by 92%, too high by 4% and too low by 4% of participants. The measured attention of the participants was 90%. After the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, 68% of participants preferred online teaching. The average costs per participant were €3.50 (about $4.25 or £3.15) per webinar.

Conclusions: Although the pandemic context likely influenced the results, we conclude that periodic ear, nose and throat webinar training during COVID-19 in 2020 was an effective alternative delivery method. We found high attention rates, high levels of participant satisfaction and low costs. Evaluations and re-evaluations will be necessary to adapt teaching concepts successfully and ensure high levels of teaching and learning efficiency.

Keywords: education & training (see medical education & training); medical education & training; otolaryngology; qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Otolaryngology*
  • Pandemics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2