Nursing education through information, communication and technology
Nurses are front-line health care workers in a district based primary health care system. The shortage of nurses with its impact on health care is well documented. The challenge is how to train sufficient competent nurses. Stellenbosch University is addressing this educational need and has invested in e-Learning products to enhance the training it offers postgraduate nurses. A blended “brick and click” approach was designed to obtain the optimal blend of e-Learning activities to achieve the outcomes of a range of postgraduate programmes for nurses. This blend includes face-to-face activities, text based materials and activities on web-based learning management systems, activities on the Interactive Telematic Education (iTE) satellite-based platform and Skype. Many prospective postgraduate students living in remote areas often experience barriers which deters access. For these students iTE serves as a convenient technology vehicle to participate in post-graduate programmes. The iTE platform is based on satellite, cell phone and smart card technology and consists of an on-campus studio and twenty five remote learning centres situated across South Africa to create a virtual learning environment to support synchronous teaching and learning opportunities for postgraduate students. ITE allows direct two-way communication between the lecturer and students while a lecture is in progress. Real-time interaction between the lecturer and students which is one of the distinctive attributes of iTE, allows for the collaborative co-construction of knowledge rather than a passive one-way transfer of knowledge which makes it appropriate for postgraduate adult learning. iTE forms a vital component of the postgraduate delivery strategy of the nursing division in its attempts to address the increasing demands for nurse training.
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