Reflections on nursing students' e-learning experiences

  • Hester Julie
  • Lorraine Fakude


Introduction: To ensure that nursing education stay abreast with modern technology advances has the School
of Nursing (SoN) of The University of the Western Cape integrated e-learning into the curriculum. This method
articulates well with the case-based approach adopted by the SoN. The Learning Management System,
Knowledge Environment for Web-Based Learning (Kewl), Next Generation (KNG), was used to facilitate online
teaching and learning.
Objectives: The primary aim was to gather baseline data on e-learning by exploring the perceptions and
experiences of the first pilot group of undergraduate nursing students who were exposed to this strategy.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional quantitative design was used to determine the students' understanding
and valuing of e-learning, the benefits and skills gained and challenges experienced, by means of a structured,
close-ended questionnaire with space for comments. Convenience sampling was used and the questionnaire
was distributed to the 87 third year undergraduate nursing students who completed the Primary Mental Health
Care module between May and July 2006. Microsoft Excel software was used for the capturing and analysis of
the data.
Participants: Nursing students in their third year of Baccalaures Curationis degree who participated in the
Primary Health Care module.
Setting: University of the Western Cape, Cape town.
Intervention: Introduction of e-learning as a teaching strategy.
Results: The response rate was low. Although some students struggled initially, the majority finally succeeded
in mastering e-learning. KNG has benefits but students also face specific challenges that need to be attended
to. Most of the respondents felt that the learning experience was valuable and stated that they will recommend it
to other students.
Conclusion: Students need to adapt to the challenges of modern technology. They still preferred face-to face
teaching rather than group work.