Distance Education and Web Based Courses In Nursing Education

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Historical View and Need Need of Distance Learning In Nursing Education

Distance Education and Web Based Courses In Nursing Education

Need of Distance Learning,Why Distance Education?,Historical Perspective Distance Learning in Nursing Education.

Need of Distance Learning

    The students who would not be found sitting in a traditional classroom. They are receiving a quality education that would be unavailable to them otherwise. Today, whether students enroll in a traditional learning experience or learn at a distance, the Internet will influence the way they learn because learning experiences are either Web based, Web enhanced, or Web supported (Robley, Farnsworth, Flynn, & Horne , 2004). 

Why Distance Education?

    Technology provides practicing nurses and nursing students with the opportunity to learn, share information, and collaborate with colleagues throughout the world. A distance education format will not meet the needs of all learners; However, it is ideal for the individual who is motivated, needs flexibility, and wants to maintain professional accountability through self-evaluation and ongoing education. 

    Internet based education is a learning option based on the assumption that students will become part of a community of learners even as they work separately from each other and their instructors. Nurses not interested in using the Internet for educational purposes will also feel its effects because technology is changing the traditional classroom in subtle and profound ways.

    Degree granting institutions and continuing education programs are facing critical challenges. It is important to understand these challenges in order to understand why Internet education will become increasingly important in the twenty-first century. In order to remain viable, educational programs must do the following:

    Provide first rate leadership and instruction in rapidly developing new areas of knowledge and specialization.Meet the learning needs of an increasingly diverse student population. Hire faculty that are flexible and have the ability to incorporate research findings and technology into everyday instructional practices Ensure quality learning standards and accreditation criteria that are comparable to face-to-face formats (Rosseter, 2003)

    Because of these challenges, new ways of addressing the way we teach and how we learn are of the utmost importance. As universities, associations, private providers, and others compete in the marketplace for formal and continuing professional education, increasing numbers of learners will turn to the Internet as a convenient, satisfying, and economically prudent way to save time and money in order to keep current in their field. 

    The Internet not only delivers online classes, but also creates “virtual communities” where professionals can communicate, get current information, and conduct business on a daily basis.

Historical Perspective Distance Learning in Nursing Education

    Nurses have a rich history of seeking the latest method of getting the education they need to remain current. The evolution of American educational technology is slightly different from the technology used historically in nursing education. 

    During the early 1900s, the American visual instruction movement and the radio movement established innovative forms of learning (Saettler, 1990), but it was not until the late twentieth century that the nursing profession began using film or video and radio technology as a form of distance education. 

    The concept of using communication tools that are unbounded by time and space to bring education to learners far and wide began with print media and correspondence studies. This method requires sending and receiving assignments via mail. The use of radio in education began as early as the 1920s and is still being used in developing countries. Only now, radio broadcasting for instructional purposes is computer-based radio (Nwaerondu & Thompson, 1999). 

    By World War II, educators in the United States became more interested in television technology. Television technology became popular in the 1960s when a variety of video based initiative television systems became available. This form of broadcast uses asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) via videoconferencing equipment. Typically, programs use ATM video conferencing equipment with televisions, connecting two or more class-rooms to one another with an instructor in one of the locations. 

    This technology is still used today because of its close resemblance to the traditional classroom but this costly method is gradually being replaced with other technology-rich methods of instruction (Reiser, 2001). Some nursing programs combine various forms of distance education modalities to attract students in far off places. These programs, known as external degree programs, use video or film technology, print media, videoconferencing technology, and the Internet to deliver instruction. 

    They differ from traditional programs because the learning experience does not offer a prescribed method of learning. The learning is not merely a transfer of material from the classroom to the Internet. Instead, distance education uses different methods of delivery, reinforcement, and communication with classmates and the teacher; and the learning is independent (Hyde & Murray, 2005).

    Computer technology for distance education has leapt to the fore-front partly because of technological advances and educational reform as well (Armstrong, Gessner, & Cooper, 2000). According to the 2001 National Survey of Information Technology in US Higher Education, 56% of college and universities offer full online courses (Escoffery, Miner, & Alperin, 2003). 

    This statistic does not include colleges or universities that offer portions of a course online. The Internet is the most versatile distance education vehicle of the information age, with users becoming information seekers. In fact, because of the Internet and the information age, learners are bombarded with information and must evaluate the validity of the information. 

    This was not necessarily the case prior to the information age. Information was limited and required extensive seeking and research skills to obtain little information. Because of the Internet and advancing technology, all aspects of nursing will be affected, including opportunities and approaches to learning.

    The need for degree completion, skill acquisition, continuing education, and certificate nursing education will continue to proliferate. A shift in restructured health care environments to an emphasis on primary and outpatient care provided in clinics, community, and other settings, requires additional knowledge, skills, and expertise. 

    Nurses seeking to remain competitive in the health care market will need the community assessment, problem solving, and clinical management skills that are taught at the baccalaureate level (Beason, 1997). Historically, nursing has always been able to evolve continuously in its methods, structure, and educational approaches to meet the changing health care needs of society. 

    Distance education can meet the health care challenges of society and the profession in a way that is both clinically relevant and educationally viable because distance education can be delivered through Web based technologies, interactive videoconferencing via Internet, and prerecorded media (Dudding & Purcell Robertson, 2003).

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