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Cross-Country Student Perceptions about Online Medical Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Suzuki, Tomoya; Murayama, Anju; Kotera, Yasuhiro; Bhandari, Divya; Senoo, Yuki; Tani, Yuta; Harada, Kayo; Kawamoto, Ayumu; Sato, Satomi; Sawano, Toyoaki; Miyata, Yasushi; Tsubokura, Masaharu; Tanimoto, Tetsuya; Ozaki, Akihiko


Tomoya Suzuki

Anju Murayama

Divya Bhandari

Yuki Senoo

Yuta Tani

Kayo Harada

Ayumu Kawamoto

Satomi Sato

Toyoaki Sawano

Yasushi Miyata

Masaharu Tsubokura

Tetsuya Tanimoto

Akihiko Ozaki


(1) Introduction: Most educational institutions around the world have shifted from traditional face-to-face to online education amid COVID-19. This change may particularly impact medical students, whose education is heavily influenced by clinical learning experiences. Accordingly, we investigated medical students’ perceptions about positive and negative aspects of online medical education in Japan and overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic. (2) Methods: In-depth online interviews were conducted among 13 Japanese medical students and five medical students from Slovakia, Norway, and Hungary. Interviews were conducted from 23rd September to 3rd October 2020 using the snowball sampling method. Questions were focused on five main areas: Q1 the type of online education; Q2 advantages and disadvantages of online education; Q3 any changes in the relationship with teachers, friends, and family; Q4 any opinions about further improvements in online education; and Q5 any needs for affiliation with a particular university. Then thematic analysis was conducted. (3) Results: The results of the thematic analysis revealed the following four themes that represent the positive and negative aspects of online medical education; Theme 1: Timesaving and Flexibility; Theme 2: Technical problems and lack of digital skills; Theme 3: Unstandardized teaching skills; Theme 4: Lack of experience beyond medical school lectures. (4) Conclusions: While online education was found useful in terms of saving time and creating a flexible learning environment, many important drawbacks were noted such as internet and computer problems and unstandardized teaching skills, and lack of quality assurance. In addition, experiences outside the classroom such as making relationships with faculty and friends, conducting research and participating in extracurricular activities were missed, which they normally enjoy in college life.


Suzuki, T., Murayama, A., Kotera, Y., Bhandari, D., Senoo, Y., Tani, Y., …Ozaki, A. (2022). Cross-Country Student Perceptions about Online Medical Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(5), Article 2840.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 25, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2022
Publication Date Feb 28, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 20, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 20, 2023
Journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Print ISSN 1661-7827
Electronic ISSN 1660-4601
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 5
Article Number 2840
Keywords Undergraduate; COVID-19; Pandemic; Medical education; SARS-CoV-2; Distance-learning; Health; Toxicology and Mutagenesis; Public Health; Environmental and Occupational Health
Public URL
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