Evaluation of the use of an online learning management sytem at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
Ndamase, Zanele Victoria.
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This study investigates the use of a Web Based Learning environment to support a newly introduced Problem Based Learning curriculum at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine. Questionnaires, observations and interviews form the basis of this qualitative study amongst first and second year students. Attempts are made to interrogate the way in which staff members use the system to support a constructivist learning environment. In addition similar prior research at this institution is taken into account and reported in the literature review. While not disputing the findings of earlier research the qualitative methodology used here shows some discrepancies with previous research. In particular, although learners are able to, and do, make use of the system it is predominantly used for the dissemination and retrieval of information. The basic premises of construction of knowledge are not facilitated by the Medical School's use of the Web Based Learning environment and of great concern was the small number of staff members who saw it as an integral part of the new curriculum and learning process.