Innovations in learning and teaching: New JOT supplement details the AO’s response to COVID-19

Education is central to the AO's mission of promoting excellence in patient care and outcomes in trauma and musculoskeletal disorders—even during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a collection of articles in the February 2023 Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma (JOT) supplement, AO Trauma faculty detail how the AO continued supporting its surgeon community and extending its educational offerings across the globe throughout the pandemic.

The JOT supplement, titled “Innovations in Learning and Teaching: How the AO ‘Pivoted’ in Response to COVID-19,” takes a deep dive into the lessons learned and the discoveries made by the AO in education delivery during the pandemic and provides insight into what does and does not work in online learning. Moreover, the articles offer a glimpse of AO Trauma’s digital educational opportunities and highlight innovative educational formats and technology platforms that augmented the AO learning experience during COVID-19.

The AO's new approaches to reaching learners during COVID-19

The articles describe how a “reimagine, rethink, and innovate” approach underpinned the AO’s success in engaging and delivering quality content at a pace that matched learners' needs at the height of the pandemic when face-to-face, on-site events and hands-on skills training were precluded. Between April 2020 and May 2022, the AO designed and organized educational content that moved beyond typical webinars to deliver online examples of the innovation, teamwork, collaboration, and commitment exemplified by AO Faculty. True to its mission, AO volunteers and staff worked tirelessly through the COVID-19 pandemic to reach thousands of learners in more than 80 different countries worldwide.

Recounting the AO’s COVID-19 response, the JOT supplement encompasses the experiences gathered from the faculty, learners, and staff. The topics highlight innovative educational formats that created and delivered engaging interactive sessions; technology platforms and tools that augmented AO learning experiences; blended learning opportunities that became an integral part of the AO’s educational offerings; and how the traditional AO “fireside chats” with interactive case discussions were redesigned for online delivery.

This JOT supplement is the result of joint efforts by AO Faculty and employees, guided by three guest editors: AO Trauma Education Committee Member Brett D Crist, MD, past AO Trauma International Board Chairperson Kodi E Kojima, MD, PhD, and AO North America Chief Learning Officer Chitra Subramaniam, PhD.

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