Introducing virtual classrooms for undergraduate physiology teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic: acceptance by students and subjective impact on learning

Adv Physiol Educ. 2023 Sep 1;47(3):376-382. doi: 10.1152/advan.00252.2022. Epub 2023 May 18.


The COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide lockdowns brought major changes in education systems. There was a sudden obligatory shift toward utilization of digital resources for teaching and learning purposes. Medical education, specifically physiology teaching, comprises hands-on training in the laboratory. It is challenging to offer a course like physiology in a virtual format. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness and influence of virtual classroom technology on online physiology education in a sample size of 83 first-year MBBS undergraduates. A questionnaire comprising questions related to technology accessibility and utilization, comprehensibility and effectiveness of instructions, faculty proficiency, and learning outcomes was administered to the group. The responses were collected and analyzed. Validation through principal components and factor analysis showed that online teaching is not very effective and has a limited application in the physiology education of undergraduate MBBS students. Our study also revealed that virtual physiology teaching of undergraduate medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic had a moderate level of effectiveness.NEW & NOTEWORTHY In the present qualitative study, we have conducted and validated an online physiology teaching platform at a medical college to continue medical education during the peak times of the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged lockdowns. Furthermore, we have evaluated the effectiveness of online physiology teaching through multidimensional feedback from undergraduate MBBS students. It is experimental evidence of inadequate sustainability, moderate efficacy, limited application, and poor first-hand experience gained by the students in virtual physiology teaching in a preclinical and clinical setting.

Keywords: factor analysis; online physiology teaching; principal component analysis.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Pandemics
  • Students, Medical*