Exploring the use of e-Learning platforms by Postgraduate Nursing students in a selected Higher Education institution.
Buthelezi, Lindeni Ivy.
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Background: E learning is one of the latest trends in nursing education to enhance learning and flexibility in the teaching and learning process. Literature however shows that while undergraduate students adjust easily to the use of technology, postgraduate students tend to struggle due to their lower levels of computer literacy computer literacy and unfamiliarity with eLearning. Study aim: To explore and describe the use of e-Learning platforms by postgraduate nursing students’ at a selected higher educational institution within KwaZulu-Natal. Methods: A quantitative approach and descriptive exploratory design were adopted in this study. About 60 postgraduate nursing students registered in 2016 participated in this study. Data was collected using a self-report questionnaire. Ethical clearance was obtained from the University Ethics Board; protocol number HSS/1718/016M and ethics principles were observed throughout the study. Data was analysed statistically using frequency distributions and the Chi-square test to assess the associations between each item on the perceptions and challenges with the socio-demographic factors. Results: The participants positively viewed the use of technology and e-learning in the postgraduate programme. About 70% reported exposure for the first time to Moodle at the university, 62.1% reported training in the use of Moodle, and 68.3% had access to the computer at home for learning purposes. The majority however expressed discomfort with the use of Moodle, and this was associated with the technical challenges they had due to limited IT skills. There was a statistically significant association between ability to use Moodle and proficiency in English, computer literature, availability of technical support and access to computer Conclusion: E-learning has value in a postgraduate programme and has a potential to yield positive outcomes if the students are introduced early during their undergraduate studies, if they are trained on the use of Moodle and have technical support available when necessary.