An exploratory study of web-enhanced learning in undergraduate nurse education

Elizabeth A Mitchell, Assumpta Ryan, Oonagh Carson, Siobhain McCann
Journal of Clinical Nursing 2007, 16 (12): 2287-96

AIM: The aim of the study was to explore undergraduate nursing students' views of web-enhanced learning and to examine issues relating to their pattern of access to a rehabilitation nursing module website.

BACKGROUND: As information technology is an integral component of western health care, all nurses are expected to have the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to be competent in its use.

METHODS: In phase 1, a focus group interview was conducted with students (n = 6) who had not logged onto a similar module website. In phase 2, a questionnaire was administered to students undertaking the web-enhanced module. In phase 3, each student's (n = 231) pattern of access to the module was identified and compared with the student's performance as evidenced by their module assignment mark.

RESULTS: Students held favourable attitudes towards web-enhanced learning but some students experienced difficulties. There was a significant positive association between the students' assignment mark and the number of times logged onto the module website. Significant negative correlations were found between mark and week of first log on, and week of first log on and number of hits onto the module site. This suggests that students who logged onto the module in the first few weeks were more likely to achieve higher marks.

CONCLUSIONS: This study's findings suggest that students who accessed the module website early and often were more likely to produce more comprehensive nursing assessments and consequently achieve higher assignment marks than their colleagues.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The findings have relevance to all nurses as lifelong learning is a mandatory requirement for maintaining clinical competence and electronic learning can provide students (regardless of registration status) with the flexibility to gain access to course content at a time and place convenient to them. The role of electronic learning in promoting a more holistic nursing assessment is also discussed.

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