The purpose of the current study was to evaluate resident, fellow, and attending perspectives on the use of e-learning as part of orthopaedic surgery education.
A survey was created evaluating (1) overall attitudes toward e-learning, (2) multi-institutional e-learning/e-conferences, (3) national/regional e-conferences, and (4) future directions with e-learning. The survey was distributed to all the orthopaedic surgery residency program directors in the United States, and they were asked to circulate the survey to their program's faculty and trainees.
A total of 268 responses were collected, including 100 attendings and 168 trainees. Overall satisfaction with e-learning compared with in-person learning was higher among trainees than attending faculty, with 51.4% of trainees favoring e-learning, as opposed to 32.2% of attendings (P = 0.006). Both groups felt they were more likely to pay attention with in-person learning (P = 0.89). During the COVID-19 pandemic, 85.7% of residents have used e-learning platforms to join a conference in their specialty of interest while off-service. Most attendings and trainees felt e-learning should play a supplemental role in standard residency/fellowship education, with a low number of respondents feeling that it should not be used (86.6% versus 84%, and 2.1% versus 0.6%, respectively, P = 0.28).
E-learning has been an important modality to continue academic pursuits during the disruption in usual education and training schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most trainees and attendings surveyed felt that e-learning should play a supplementary role in resident and fellow education moving forward. Although e-learning does provide an opportunity to hold multi-institutional conferences and makes participation in meetings logistically easier, it cannot fully replicate the dynamic interactions and benefits of in-person learning.