How COVID-19 contributed to the rise of short online medical courses

Short online medical courses proliferated during the COVID 19 pandemic as programmers and developers who were now isolated could devote their time to making the curriculum content developed by medical professionals work seamlessly. The pausing of elective surgeries meant many professionals had more time to devote to course development.

As lockdowns and restrictions affected medical schools, there was a rapid acceleration in the move to online learning. This move to more innovative teaching models was something that medical students had been asking for.

The DigiMed Study, a cross-sectional web-based study, took into account the responses of 3286 students from 12 countries to several facets of the online learning process.

According to the study, most medical students were happy with the quality of the courses. They enjoyed the flexibility of online learning as opposed to face-to-face classroom instruction. The mean age of the students involved in the study was 23.6 years, and the mean study year was the third year. Of the respondents, 75% reported that they were fully prepared for online learning as the majority already owned the devices needed to further their learning and felt comfortable with the software.

Prior to the pandemic, most medical schools had offered traditional face-to-face teaching. It would appear that students prefer a problem-based approach to the usual lecture method when learning online.

The switch, motivated by the COVID 19 pandemic, started as an emergency response. However, with time, the courses are being adapted to include as many opportunities as possible for students to learn using virtual reality. These innovations include simulators for various specialised procedures, which increases student interest as it is hands-on.


Holoportation, a 3D capture technology, allows users to see and interact with remote participants. Communication and interactions with remote users seem as natural as face-to-face communication, allowing certain aspects of the doctor-patient interaction to be handled online. Previously, this only possible in hospitals and clinics.


Smartglasses allow medical students to shadow professionals during operating room procedures. In real life, viewing an operation is limited due to space. However, with the Smartglasses, multiple students can join in a virtual session and the surgeon can communicate with students during the procedure. Students can even follow the surgeon via the Smartglasses on ward rounds and learn how to interact with patients.

Qualified medical practitioners who wish to up-skill concerning developments in specific procedures can now take advantage online short courses in medicine. The courses include videos, quizzes and the opportunity to participate in simulations of procedures.

A surgeon in the US can share his knowledge with colleagues in Australia, for example, or a doctor performing a relatively new procedure can converse in real-time with specialists who have performed the procedure hundreds of times. All the doctor needs is a good internet connection and smart glasses to get instant feedback.

Simulation technology and the use of new developments such as Holoportation and Smartglasses have all helped make the experience of learning through short courses in medicine an immersive experience.

Accelerated developments in technology

The COVID 19 pandemic led to these advancements being included within months rather than the usual four to five years. Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, wrote in The Republic, a Socratic dialogue, that “our need will be the great creator”. Indeed, the need to adapt due to the pandemic has led to significant advances in online learning for medical students.

It is a given that the people undertaking short courses in medicine have a reliable network connection and are comfortable with wearable technology such as Smartglasses; otherwise, the short surgery courses will be disrupted, and the student will lose valuable time.

The benefits of offering short courses in medicine online are significant. It is remarkable how fast medical institutions have adapted to providing quality online learning in medical procedures. The innate flexibility in the modern medical field coupled with a willingness to embrace technological advances has impacted healthcare positively through the delivery of short surgical courses online and will continue to do so long into the future.

To find out more about the short online medical courses available through Small Surgery Courses, contact us today.