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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 78-81

Anatomy in a virtual small-group learning setting: A COVID revelation

1 Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India; Department of Anatomy, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK
3 Department of Biostatistics, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Supraja Srivatsava
Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijamr.ijamr_34_22

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Background: The benefits of small-group learning (SGL) in anatomy are well documented; however, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the dynamics of SGL change in the online environment. In this study, we aimed to study the effects of the online platform and the content created on students' perception in the delivery of virtual SGL (VrSGL) in anatomy for 1-year medical students. Materials and Methods: VrSGL in anatomy was conducted for 6 weeks on Microsoft Teams as a meeting platform. Each group consisted of 10–12 1st-year medical students. Various aspects of VrSGL were analyzed with respect to technological factors, online content, online small-group teaching, and assessment modalities such as online viva, digital spotters, clinical cases, and short answer writing, through validated online feedback forms. Results: Of the 97 students (46 males and 51 females), 86% found the frequency of VrSGL optimal. There was a substantial positive correlation between connectivity issues and the quality of SGL. Majority of the students reported that VrSGL enabled them to learn anatomy well (72%), at their own pace (90%), and increased their accountability (85%). There was a significant positive correlation between the effectiveness of VrSGL sessions and quality of specimen demonstration videos (P < 0.001), assignments (P < 0.001), and online assessment (P < 0.001). A significant drawback of VrSGL was the lack of handling of cadaveric specimens as reported by 91% of the students. Conclusion: The most impactful factors on VrSGL were quality of specimen demonstration videos, frequency of the SGL sessions, assignments, and online assessment modalities.

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