Context: Professional and tertiary health professions education (HPE) has been markedly challenged by the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Mandates for training organisations to reduce social contact during the global pandemic, and make learning available online, provide an opportunity for regional, rural and remote (RRR) clinicians and students to more easily access learning and professional development opportunities.
Issues: Online lectures, while posing an opportunity for RRR HPE, entail potential risks. Educators who are familiar with face-to-face (F2F) pedagogies may find a transition to remote, digital interaction unfamiliar, disarming, and therefore not design maximally engaging lectures. The strategies used in a F2F lecture cannot be directly transferred into the online environment.
Lessons: This article proposes strategies to ensure the ongoing effectiveness, efficiency and engagement of lectures that are transitioning from F2F to online delivery. Cognitive learning theory, strategies to promote learner engagement and minimise distraction, and examples of software affordances to support active learning during the lecture are proposed. This enables lecturers to navigate the challenges of lecturing in an online environment, and plan fruitful online lectures during this disruptive time. These suggestions will therefore enable HPE to better meet the existing and future needs of RRR learners who may not be able to easily access F2F learning upon the relaxation of social distancing measures. Strategies to provide equitable HPE to learners who cannot access plentiful, fast internet are also discussed.