Coronavirus and medical education: Getting change and turning to new education paradigm: the need for scaffolding learning in online training

Document Type : Letter to Editor


1 Department of Medical Education, Virtual Center, Jahrom University of Medical Sciences, Jahrom, Iran

2 Department of Foreign Languages, Jahrom University of Medical Sciences, Jahrom, Iran

3 Depertment of Medical Education, School of Medical Education, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Coronavirus pandemic has caused extensive changes in various fields. Education is one challenging and necessary dimension to be paid attention by policymakers and considered as a necessity. Due to changes in the methods and styles of providing medical education from face-to-face to virtual training, and due to its novelty in our country and several challenges ahead, it is necessary to take measures an effective support for better performance of students so that they can monitor their movement to achieve excellent training goals. This will be gained by supporting students’ performances and creating appropriate scaffolds for them. This article covers the needs for scaffolding, the manner and challenges and the related reasons. Also the necessity to be involved in teacher's activities is emphasized so that the quality of education at the present time may be improved.


Dear Editor,
The Coronavirus 2019-2020 Pandemic is an Acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which is a result of the Corona virus infection. It is expected that all the countries will not be immune to its negative effects and Iran is not an exception.
What has happened to the education in Iran is the dominance of virtual learning over face-to-face training and presentation of lessons is in the new form. Technology and its application in novel education and the effective use of it by professors despite the problems and challenges is a perceived need. What is certain is that in the effective use of any training program, what is required and enhances pragmatic influence is its support for learning and education that is called learning scaffolding. Educational scaffolding reinforces Learning through dialogue, feedback, and sharing what is learned and with the support and then challenging learning experiences can create new potential for lifelong and independent learning.
Technological scaffolding is able to provide the necessary support for conceptualization in the online environment. This scaffolding can provide the development of metacognitive capabilities in technological environments that can be clearly seen in the discussion environments, Wiki and mass interaction tools. Using tools, processes, unique teaching-learning environment despite the diversity of students with different abilities information literacy, cognitive and metacognitive levels, and the challenges of using technology in education needs effective support to pave the way for educational goals (1,2).
Considering above mentioned issues, it seems necessary to produce standard educational content, educational supply and its methods on the one hand, then how to support students has become a serious challenge for professors and students which is necessary to be discussed in the following issues:

Students with different metacognitive levels

Students with different motivational levels

Metacognition is how to manage knowledge and set it up for learning. What challenges an online learner on the one hand, lack of knowledge and knowledge of the curriculum A another is how to use it for learning and self-regulation It should be considered in cyberspace.
Also the difference between students in low metacognition (Ability to manage cognitive processes, Self-regulatory and self-governing) and high recognition (Capacity of cognitive processes and the need to support the learning process to improve higher levels of thinking). It is also an important category in this field in order to help promote students with high metacognition, it is possible to help their management and self-regulation 
The diverse motivation of students in this field is another point that is necessary to be paid special attention to at this time. Motivational difference is a category that separates technophile students from technophobe students. In such a way that motivating, accepting and using students with literacy problems and information motivation must be supported by appropriate methods and content and Efforts should be made to promote the motivation of interested students through participation in educational activities.
Due to the fact that educational scaffolding is a supportive structure in which it helps students learn new tasks and concepts that they cannot normally experience and learn, therefore it is necessary to support students in online environments 
These strategies help and support students in how to achieve or solve a problem. Therefore, in strategic scaffolding, it is possible to help in the formation of basic principles and basic concepts of the lesson by using purposeful materials. One of these strategies is to repeat lesson objectives, shapes, logos, and key cycles to form the mentality of its importance in the mind. On the other hand, the teacher adjusts the flow chart or concept map to bring users closer to the goal with this supportive scaffold. 
Providing application software and videos of examples and tools can help support learning atmosphere online and while expressing how to achieve educational goals and the path of educational movement and drawing it, its acceptance / motivation and usefulness can be facilitated for learners to reduce anxiety and stress caused by unfamiliar environment and teach them to how to use the tools to create attractive environment for learners.
Technological education with its own conditions and potentials can be a good environment for developing learning and learning processes. In this way it is necessary to develop effective support processes by providing a way to achieve educational goals through appropriate scaffolding with different learners and cognitive and metacognitive forces to enable students to develop and promote learning. The special ability that every professor of medical sciences needs to learn and apply through the use of technology in education is to create more efficient training at this critical time.
1- Tiantong M, Teemuangsai S. The Four Scaffolding Modules for Collaborative Problem-Based Learning through the Computer Network on Moodle LMS for the Computer Programming Course. International Education Studies. 2013;6(5):47-55.
2-Zhang M, Quintana C. Scaffolding strategies for supporting middle school students’ online inquiry processes. Comput Educ. 2012;58(1):181-96.