When educators are locked down: transitioning an international faculty development program from in-person to online during the COVID-19 pandemic in China
Introduction: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced international faculty development programs in medical education to forgo in-person activities and transition to online learning. We sought to examine changes in Chinese medical educators’ evaluations of our faculty development program as it transitioned from in-person intensive to online longitudinal due to the pandemic. Methods: A 30-item program evaluation and self-assessment of curriculum development and teaching skills was sent to our 2020 cohort. Results were compared to our 2019 cohort. We analyzed data using t-tests to compare means and chi-square test for categorical variables. Results: We found that trainees in both cohorts rated the program highly with regard to overall program quality and self-assessed learning outcomes. Comparison of cohorts also showed similar growth in pre- and post-training assessment. However, the 2020 cohort rated their relationships with instructors and peers less strongly than the 2019 cohort. Conclusions: Despite the rapid transition to online learning due to social distancing measures, trainees were as confident in the skills they learned as the prior in-person participants. Time zone differences placed additional restrictions on the implementation of the training program, which affected the amount of face-to-face interaction time available.