Because of restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical educators rapidly transitioned to an online curriculum for pathology resident education. The benefits and challenges of the shift to online learning, as well as strategies to maximize learning, are yet to be fully elucidated.


To assess learner perception and satisfaction with the move to online learning. Understanding the benefits of online learning will allow future curricular changes to most effectively incorporate online learning. Understanding the common challenges will allow our current learning strategies to rapidly adapt and ideally mitigate these challenges as online learning is incorporated into medical education.


This was a survey-based study distributed by email to residents nationwide in Canada in anatomic pathology, general pathology, neuropathology, and hematopathology. Thirty residents participated, from anatomic pathology (n = 23; 76%), from general pathology (n = 5; 16%), and 1 participant each from hematopathology and neuropathology.


All participants indicated that their program had transitioned to online learning at least in part. The majority of participants (n = 16; 53%) did not feel their pathology education was negatively affected by the transition to online learning; however, a significant minority (n = 6; 20%) felt their education had been negatively affected. Convenience and less intimidation were rated as benefits of online learning. Negative effects included technical issues and decreased engagement; we identified a number of strategies used by programs and residents to mitigate these negative effects.


Our survey points to a need to use adaptations and best-practice recommendations to maximize the benefits of online learning moving forward.

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The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.

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