Vol. 21 No. 1 (2021)
Original articles

The lived experience of distance learning of medical students during the CoViD-19 pandemic in Italy: a descriptive phenomenological research

Fabrizio Consorti
Dip. di Scienze Chirurgiche, Univ. Sapienza di Roma
Giacomo Consorti
Education Department of Osteopathy (EDO) - Istituto Superiore Osteopatia (ISO), Milan, Italy - Clinical-based Human Research Department, Foundation COME Collaboration, Pescara, Italy
Published August 5, 2021
  • distance learning, pandemic, phenomenology, undergraduate medical student


Introduction - The pandemic forced the quick adoption of distance education in Italian schools of Medicine. Qualitative research about the sudden adoption of distance education is missing. This study explores from a phenomenological perspective the lived experience of medical students of distance education during the CoViD-19 pandemic.

Methods – A descriptive phenomenological research of written narrative essays about one distance lesson was conducted. Texts were collected through the e-learning platform and analysed according to Giorgi’s method

Results – Eighteen narratives were analysed. Three themes emerged, which described the lived experience of the participants: distance learning was not an educational choice but a mandatory answer to the pandemic that disrupted the usual course of our lives; distance learning can make the classroom cozy; distance learning puts you in a “bubble”.

Discussion – These findings confirm what is already known in general about distance learning and add a new insight on the importance of the social processes and physical presence of students in the development of their identity as a student. Our findings underline the importance of faculty development on the issues of distance learning.