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How Medical Students are Learning in the Pandemic

Years ago, for someone to earn a medical degree or certificate in person, they would likely need to overhaul their sources of income, sacrifice relationships, and rearrange priorities in life. Earning a higher-level education in healthcare is a valuable career choice, but it is difficult to integrate schooling into one’s lifestyle.

Today, through a variety of platforms and with the help of technology, pursuing healthcare education has become more accessible, more immersible, and even more affordable. Online and virtual education resources have enabled healthcare students to obtain an engaging education in an accommodating format. 

Technological advancements have allowed students to learn through virtual training and engage in various methods that historically would be taught in-person. Universities may rely on iPads for remote interaction.

Sending quick and responsive text messages could supplement communicating with professors over longer turnaround time emails. Smaller study groups have the ability to gather together online, instead of at the library.

Below is a broad overview of the various modalities for pursuing higher education in the medical field, including pros and cons. 

Online Classes

Higher learning is no longer exclusively carried out in an oversized lecture hall from sunrise to sundown. Attending classes over the Internet provides students the ability to integrate their education in a format that fits into their lives, and is especially desirable for both parents and working adults.

The roll call options for students could be via a tablet, laptop, or smartphone device. It’s not to say that in-person classes at universities don’t exist anymore, but the offerings to participate in higher education programs have exponentially expanded.

There are online-only classes for students who need the maximum amount of flexibility in their curriculum. Some colleges have formats that require set times and dates to attend the classes, while others are available “on-demand” at the student’s discretion based on their schedules.

Professors have online presentations, videos, workbooks, and audio lessons available for viewing whenever it is most convenient for the scholar. Deadlines for turning in projects are indicated, but the student is responsible for completing the assignment on their own accord.

In-Person Classes

It is hard to argue that traditional, in-the-flesh, on-campus learning can be equally substituted by virtual classes. There is something to be said for face-to-face conversations, and the ability to use all of your senses including touching and feeling tactile tools (e.g. listening to a live heart rhythm through a stethoscope).

Because technology isn’t detrimental to receiving this type of education, students enjoy real-time communication with their peers and professors, while avoiding pitfalls such as losing wifi access, a laptop malfunctioning, or having trouble logging into virtual classroom websites due to challenges outside of their control.

Hybrid Classes

A blend of both in-person and online classes has become a favorable option for those who still want the advantages of in-person engagement, coupled with the flexibility of online learning. A hybrid model will typically meet in-person on a weekly basis, anywhere from one to three times.

Then, the duration of the classroom interaction is carried out online.
Hybrid courses are an excellent compromise when individuals are integrating school back into their lives, particularly after being away for quite some time, due to starting a family or pursuing a career.

Pros & Cons

While each style of the class has its benefits, there are also some disadvantages to consider. The latitude of attending online classes can be challenging for students who have a difficult time with self-discipline.

Additionally, missing out on in-person time with professors and interactions with other students in hybrid and online classes can result in feelings of isolation. Conventional classes provide very little flexibility as far as schedules are concerned, making it difficult for adults in the workforce, and/or students who have children.

Hybrid class formats can offer the best of both worlds, but individuals can still be reprimanded if they do not fulfill the mandatory requirements for in-person classes. 


Advancements in technology allow schools to offer a variety of options for students, from all walks of life. With a wide spectrum of education modalities, pursuing a healthcare degree is more accessible than ever before.

Stay tuned for our next Auxo Medical blog post — we’ll take a look at what it’s like for medical students to stay on track during the COVID-19 pandemic.