An exploration of four web-based open and flexible learning modules in post-registration nurse education

Ann Wilkinson, Angus Forbes, Jacqueline Bloomfield, Caroline Fincham Gee
International Journal of Nursing Studies 2004, 41 (4): 411-24

UNLABELLED: This paper presents an exploratory evaluation of four newly developed web-based modules for post-registration nurses. The topics for the modules were: dermatology; diabetes; mentorship; and prescribing.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To explore the students' perceptions of the web-based modules before and after completing the modules.

DESIGN: A pre-post test design using questionnaires and group interviews.

PARTICIPANTS: 39 students enrolled on the modules, pre-module data were collected on 74% (n = 29) and post-module data on 71% (n = 28). None of students had previous web-based education experience. 79% (n = 31) completed and 66% (n = 26) passed the modules. Students level of IT skills prior to commencing the modules were important in explaining module completion and outcome. The modules were rated highly in terms of achieving learning outcomes with moderate ratings for level of support and utility of learning materials. The content analysis of the interviews highlighted the importance of preparing students ensuring they have the IT and independent learning skills necessary to participate in web-based learning programmes, together with a number of issues relating to the accessibility of the learning materials. The perceived benefits of this mode of learning were that they offered flexible and resource rich learning. The downside was that the learning can be isolating.

CONCLUSIONS: This form of learning may not be suited to all groups of nurses or all educational topics. Further research is required to establish the educational benefits of different approaches to e-learning.

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