INTRODUCTION In March 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced medical schools in the Philippines to stop face-to-face learning activities and abruptly shift to an online curriculum. This study aimed to identify barriers to online learning from the perspective of medical students in a developing country. METHODS The authors sent out an electronic survey to medical students in the Philippines from 11 to 24 May 2020. Using a combination of multiple choice, Likert scale, and open-ended questions, the following data were obtained: demographics, medical school information, access to technological resources, study habits, living conditions, self-assessment of capacity for and perceived barriers to online learning, and proposed interventions. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Responses were compared between student subgroups using nonparametric tests. RESULTS Among 3,670 medical students, 3,421 (93%) owned a smartphone and 3,043 (83%) had a laptop or desktop computer. To access online resources, 2,916 (79%) had a postpaid internet subscription while 696 (19%) used prepaid mobile data. Under prevailing conditions, only 1,505 students (41%) considered themselves physically and mentally capable of engaging in online learning. Barriers were classified under five categories: technological, individual, domestic, institutional, and community barriers. Most frequently encountered were difficulty adjusting learning styles, having to perform responsibilities at home, and poor communication between educators and learners. DISCUSSION Medical students in the Philippines confronted several interrelated barriers as they tried to adapt to online learning. By implementing student-centered interventions, medical schools and educators play a significant role in addressing these challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Collection : COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv