The purpose of this survey-based study was to evaluate the implementation of virtual learning in a single academic general surgery program, compared with the well-established face-to-face academic curriculum used before.
From April 2020 to the present, virtual sessions were created via Zoom Videos Communications, Inc. (San Jose, CA, USA). A survey composed of 15 questions about the perceived quality and utility of the virtual sessions was developed. The survey was sent out to all general surgery residents of a general surgery program in November of 2020.
All residents enrolled in the program answered the survey, i.e., 22 (73.3%) men and 8 (26.7%) women with 6 (20.2%) residents per year (PGY 1–PGY 5). Over half of residents (n = 17, 56.7%) felt similar academic performance during online sessions when compared to the older model. Perceptions of the level of organization of academic sessions increased during the online model (n = 20, 66.7%). Twenty (66.7%) residents agreed it was easier to attend sessions during the online model. Fourteen (46.7%) residents reported their attendance to the sessions increased, and 14 (46.7%) residents would prefer this modality after the pandemic is over, with 8 (26.7%) being neutral about it.
This study, to our knowledge, is the first to survey general surgery residents about the transition from a face-to-face curriculum to an e‑learning curriculum. The demonstrated effectiveness of the transition from face-to-face academic activities to virtual activities makes it a feasible tool for graduate medical education programs to adjust to a virtual model.