Interaction Levels In Distant Education In Nursing

Nurses Educator 2

Levels of Interaction In Distant Education In Nursing

Interaction Levels In Distant Education In Nursing

Student Instructor Interactions,Student Interface Interactions,Student Student Interactions.

Student Instructor Interactions

    Within the context of the student-instructor interactions, Kelsey and D'souza found that students were satisfied as long as they had telephone, e-mail, or face-to-face meetings with the instructor (2004). Online office hours and online synchronous discussions between faculty and students would fall into this same context. The key to continued motivation and success is frequent communication, the didactic conversation.

Student Interface Interactions

    The interaction of the students with course content is naturally dependent on the technology used to deliver the content. The lower level technologies of email, websites, CD-ROMs, and videotapes consistently provided motivation for the students to engage in the material. 

    Likewise, technologies such as Blackboard and Web CT, when fully functioning on a high-speed Internet connection, provided satisfaction and motivated the students to continue. Streaming video technologies and interactive video conferencing fared less well due to their sophistication and problems with anything less than cable or DSI. access to the Internet (Kelsey & D'souza, 2004). 

Student Student Interactions

    Perhaps the most significant of the findings deals with the lack of importance of student-student interactions. Contrary to Moore's theory (1989), the majority of the students in the study did not demand this type of interaction, and many of the faculty members did not encourage it (Kelsey & D'souza, 2004). 

    If this type of interaction were encouraged and as available as chat rooms, real time discussions, and even face-to-face meetings, would the level of interest and motivation of the students increase? Again, a question for future research. 

    In looking at the many facets of student motivation for distance learning, it is obvious that there is no one method for each type of student. Although the extrinsic motivation of many students is their first foray into distance education, subsequent journeys must be intrinsically motivated. 

    What causes those students to become intrinsically motivated seems to be dependent on their demographics, their perceived barriers, their previous experience with distance education, and the importance of interactions among students, instructors, and the technology used to deliver the content.

    Indeed, if nursing education sees distance education as a method to relieve the nursing shortage, increase the number of faculty, and plug the brain drain (AACN, 2000), then it must look at each group of learners on an individual basis and pay attention to the demographics, barriers, and interactions.

    The high cost of developing and implementing a distance education program will be lost if students are not motivated to continue after a first course. Poor experiences with an initial venture into distance education can color the student's perspective of other distance courses as well as the educational endeavor as a whole.

    It behooves us as educators to systematically evaluate the student group, the course offerings, and the interactive abilities of the faculty and students if we are to motivate our entry level, advanced level, and continuing-education seeking nurses to continue using this mode of education.

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