Facilitation of the development of blended e-learning model for nursing education in a resource-constrained educational setting in Nigeria.
Ayandiran, Emmanuel Olufemi.
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Nursing education in Nigeria has passed through many waters. The purpose of the study was to facilitate the design, development and testing of a blended e-learning model for nursing education in a resource-constrained educational setting in Nigeria. The study has as its specific objectives to: assess the current modes of delivery of nursing education and stage of development of e-learning in nursing education in Nigeria; establish the perceptions of e-learning as a mode of teaching and learning among nursing stakeholders (nursing students, nurse academics, nurse practitioners, nursing administrators and nursing leaders); appraise the nurses’ computer literacy level, their computer skills and e-learning experiences. Others are to: explore the contextual factors and antecedents (preconditions) necessitating the use of e-learning in nursing education in Nigeria; examine the essentials for developing and testing a blended e-learning model in the Nigerian context; and pilot the developed blended e-learning model. The Khan Framework for E-Learning and the Garrison and Anderson’s Community of Inquiry Model served as the theoretical underpinning for the study. The study adopting the education action research approach has pragmatism as its philosophical stance. The study design comprises three serial cycles (the assessment/exploration, development and the implementation/testing cycle), reminiscent of action research. Each cycle was a complete mini study and consisted of an iterative cyclical loop of sequential steps of problem identification, planning, acting, observing, and reflecting that necessitated the concurrent use of quantitative and qualitative research designs. Cycle 1 (the assessment / exploration cycle) employed a complimentary quantitative / qualitative data collection approach. Quantitative data were collected with the aid of an adapted structured questionnaire administered on a cluster sample of 402 nurses selected across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, and qualitative data gathered through key informant interviews of 16 purposively selected information-rich nursing leaders. Quantitative data analysis done with the aid of SPSS 21 employed both descriptive (frequency count, percentage, mean) and inferential statistics (such as Pearson Chi-square and Kruskal-Wallis tests), while qualitative analysis employed content analysis technique, with both quantitative and qualitative findings integrated. The development cycle (Cycle 2) adopted majorly qualitative design utilizing critical reflection, synthesis of findings from the preceding needs assessment/exploration cycle, the use of reflective journal, brainstorming and consultative sessions with research team, to develop the theoretical blended e-learning model. The evolving model was critically reviewed and progressively refined before piloting. The final cycle, the implementation / testing cycle (Cycle 3), adopted a case methodology design to pilot the developed blended e-learning model among two purposively selected arms (1st and 4th year) of the part-time bachelor of nursing science students. Two nursing modules previously taught via face-to-face mode were administered using the newly developed blended e-learning model over a period of one semester. A pre- and post-test survey and focus group discussions held (one among the students and the other among teaching staff) to assess the effectiveness and suitability of the model for deploying nursing education. Results showed that a majority (69.4%) of the nurses holds only professional diploma qualifications in nursing. The computer literacy and computer skill of the nurses though adjudged as largely fair, the 34% that had poor computer literacy and the 32.8% of the nurses that exhibited poor computer skill is a cause for concern. A majority (73%) of the nurses had no prior learning experience in computer, thus the need for inculcation of a computer appreciation programme into the proposed blended e-learning model. There was however a generally positive perception of e-learning as a mode of teaching and learning among Nigerian nurses (79.6%). There was also a significant relationship between computer literacy and nurses’ perception of e-learning (p < 0.05); and nurses’ perception of e-learning and their e-learning experiences (p < 0.05). The antecedents for use of e-learning for nursing education in Nigeria are development and globalization, technological advancement, internet revolution and policy directives from the NUC. Contextual factors established by the study include: massive demand for university education in nursing, growing dissatisfaction with diploma professional nursing qualifications among nurses, the need to enrich the learning experience of nurses undergoing ODL baccalaureate nursing programme while at the same time lessening the burden experienced by those enrolled in the programme. Yet significant is the unearthing of some challenges to the use of e-learning for nursing education in a typical resource-constrained environment which include: inadequate power supply; inadequate interconnectivity; lack of infrastructure; and ignorance-related issues. Further, the study established the following as the essentials for developing and testing a blended e-learning model in a resource-constrained educational setting: an eye that sees possibilities, institutional readiness; good planning; support at different levels (individual, institutional, national); collaboration (holistic teamwork); 360 degree feedback, robust project management, policies and strategic direction. The developed blended e-learning model for nursing education in a resource-constrained educational setting was piloted for a whole semester (about 4months). The result of the piloting showed that the developed model was not only found suitable by both learners (students) and the instructors but largely effective at achieving learning objectives. It was noted that its use has facilitated an increase students’ involvement in their own learning and the use of multiple teaching-learning approaches. While certain itches (inadequate student-student and teacher-student interaction secondary internet connectivity problems and tablet-related issues) were experienced, the model has proven to be a useful tool for increasing access to nursing education while not compromising on the quality of learning.