Comparing Virtual to In-Person Delivery of Continuing Medical Education in Dementia Care: Which Is Preferred?

Published:December 01, 2021DOI:



      There is limited understanding of learners’ perceptions of virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the use of virtual modalities for interprofessional education (IPE) in primary care. Four of 7 in-person annual “Booster Day” IPE sessions for health professionals working in primary care–based memory clinics in Ontario, Canada, were canceled when the pandemic was declared; these sessions were replaced with 2 sessions delivered via live-streamed videoconferencing. This study compares Booster Day session participants’ perceptions of the in-person and virtual sessions and assesses their preferences for in-person or virtual sessions in the future.


      Survey methodology.

      Setting and Participants

      Interprofessional primary care–based memory clinic team members attending 1 of 5 annual IPE events, 3 delivered in-person immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and 2 subsequently delivered virtually via videoconferencing.


      Chi-squared test and analysis of variance was used to identify significant differences in reaction, attitude, and preference ratings between delivery modalities.


      There were no significant differences in satisfaction, relevance, knowledge acquisition, and intentions to apply new knowledge between delivery modalities. Although attendance via videoconferencing was perceived as useful, enjoyable, engaging, and as more feasible to attend, it was rated as less enjoyable and perceived as having fewer opportunities for networking than in-person sessions. Most participants preferred in-person sessions.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Quality engagement and networking, as afforded by in-person IPE, are highly valued by health professionals attending dementia-related education. IPE on complex health issues of the older people requiring interprofessional perspectives may be best suited to in-person formats.


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