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Telegram as a Tool to Supplement Online Medical Education During COVID-19 Crisis

Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, Hussain Ibrahim Alradhi, AbdulSalam Abdulkarim Alhumaidi, Khalid Hussni Alshaikh, Abdulraouf Mohammed AlObaid, Mohammed Taher Alhashim, Mona Hmoud AlSheikh.


Introduction Instant Messaging Applications are known for their potential to enhance learning. However, to date, there has been little investigation into the implications of the ‘Telegram’ application for online medical education and training. Aim: This study explores the potential benefits and disadvantages of integrating Telegram into undergraduate medical education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: An exploratory study was conducted between March and May 2020, with 203 undergraduate medical students recruited through purposive sampling. Data was collected through seven open-ended questions, followed by thematic analysis using Atlas.ti. Results: Most students participating in this study reported multiple utilities of the application, including easy access to educational resources and the ability to add unlimited members, as well as files in all formats and sizes. Additionally, the application assisted students to engage with collaborative learning, maintain their wellbeing, and ensure their security. However, they also reported some drawbacks, i.e., a complex interface, information overload, and a tendency to distract them, causing time wastage. Conclusion: This study concludes that Telegram provides an effective mobile learning platform for medical students during the current crisis, in particular. Moreover, it offers considerably more functionalities and fewer potential drawbacks than alternative applications.

Key words: Telegram, Instant messaging applications, Mobile learning, Online medical education..

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