The COVID-19 pandemic brings unforeseen challenges in medical education. The current study aims to: 1) describe third-year medical students' experiences with the novel Shelf-Exam-Type Question Didactics (SET QD) before (in-person) and during (virtual) COVID-19.
In this qualitative study using grounded theory, we conducted purposive sampling and used 23 in-depth semi-structured interviews. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and the Atlas.Ti software was used to manage the thematic analysis.
There are three themes and eight subthemes that emerged: 1) The SET QD Framework (sub-themes: questions as learning opportunities; interleaving; notable clinical scenarios; team learning; accountability). 2) Experienced Educator (subtheme: transformational teaching). 3) Virtual Accessibility (sub-themes: alleviating time constraints, and mitigating life-stressors).
Medical students regarded SET QD as impactful for shelf exam preparation, clinical preparation, and long-term retention of the material. This novel virtual didactic method may be used in non-surgical clerkships as well.