Can skills be taught in an online setting?

Attack, L. & Luke, R.  (2008).  Impact of an Online Course on Infection Control and Prevention

Competencies.  Journal of Advanced Nursing, 63(2), 175-180.

The authors of this article looked to examine the impact of an online course on health professionals’ infection prevention and control competency.  A convenience sample of 76 participants from three large hospitals and one community hospital in Canada was used.  46% of the participants were Registered Nurses.  The study utilized three online self-study infection control modules with a pre-test and post-test for each module.  The modules included text, photos, graphics, and videos.  The pre-test mean was 64% and the post-test mean was 77%.  90.5% of the participants responded that they were satisfied with the course, with 27% identifying the video portion as being important to their learning.  Sources of dissatisfaction were:  insufficient feedback with quizzes and no opportunity to ask questions.  The increase in scores and the satisfaction with the course led the authors to feel that their study supports the claims that online learning can deliver quality while also being convenient.

This article was informative in providing knowledge as to what learners like to see in online courses, and areas in which courses could be improved.  The areas for improvement within the study would be the lack of direct observation of the participant’s practice of infection control and prevention, as well as the lack of an experimental design, though the pre-test/post-test design does help to validate the acquisition of knowledge through the use of the online program.  With my new knowledge about all the technology out there than allows instructors to have greater interaction with students even during quizes, it would be interesting to see how things improved if there was more professor presence and intereaction. 

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3 Comments

Filed under Assessment

3 responses to “Can skills be taught in an online setting?

  1. robinewing

    This sounds like a good article to read if you’re doing professional development or on-the-job-training at your place of employment. I’ve done a couple of sessions at work on tools like Snag It and my employees tend to want a lot of feedback, interaction, and demonstration.

  2. robinewing

    I think we forget that we should apply the same principles to staff development and training that we do to teaching students. I know that when I’ve done some staff training on tools like Snag It, they’ve wanted a lot of hands-on practice with feedback and interaction from me and the other instructor. I’d love to develop a more formal staff training program for our library and online training would provide time flexibility. Thanks for highlighting this article. I wouldn’t normally look at an article on nursing.

  3. Some faculty think that if they comment in discussion areas the student’s feel “squelched” or otherwise diminished in voice. I haven’t seen this, but it is a commonly used argument against being active in a class. How can we help faculty understand this differently?
    PS I agree that highlighting is helpful!

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