Nursing Distance Education Research
Distance education is continually growing and expanding, including in nursing education, but problems still exist. Many educators have limited background in high-end technologies and instructional design (Holly, 2009). There is concern on how the technological revolution is affecting nurse educators in times of educator shortages (Axley, 2008). There is also concerns in teaching methods where the majority of questions are lower level questions with limited high level questions, such as analysis, synthesis, or evaluation, as well as problem-based learning may not obtain all needed criteria (Russell, 2007).
Today’s learners are active and self-directed with widely varied knowledge, background, interests, and educational gaps (Holly, 2009). The different healthcare settings require a nurse’s literacy in information technology for evidence-based practice, such as with electronic medical records. Nurse educators need strong knowledge in information technologies and instructional design to include all needed curriculum as well as core competencies, informatics, and the national patient safety goals to equip nursing students to meet the demands of healthcare.
In times of educator shortages, nursing faculty with limited technological knowledge may become frustrated learning new technologies, which can increase dissatisfaction and educator shortages (Axley, 2008). This is especially true as the technological age is changing all the time. Appropriate technology and up-to-date resources are critical to successful learning. Today’s educators have a higher need for fluency with technology.
This has presented cost and time restraints with educators taking courses. Educators may not have the financial means to pay for courses or the time due to family demands and work. Although some schools have implemented programs, educators still may not have adequate support in learning the technologies or instructional design necessary to close the gaps. IT personnel may assist educators in learning technology, but do not know enough concerning the curriculum to assist in instructional design.
This has also presented issues with teaching strategies. Research has shown that more than 90% of questions asked by teachers consist of lower level questions that rely on recall information (Russell, 2007). High level questions promote critical thinking and enhances understanding in meaningful ways by using cognitive levels. For a student to gain a higher level of cognitive skills, they need application, synthesis, analysis, and evaluation.
Teaching strategies, such as problem-based learning, are time consuming and may not cover all necessary material. Problem-based learning has presented limitations in available resources with the major concern for library resources, access to resources, and levels of support. Another concern is confusion regarding student-faculty expectations, insufficiency of faculty, student tutorials and self-learning, lack of curriculum integration, and learning context and provision of sufficient time to learn.
In developing future research, a good idea is to develop and implement standards appropriate for instructional design in technologies. Some research questions could include what are the best standards to use for instructional design in technologies that would include all necessary material, core competencies, informatics, and national patient safety goals integrated in effective ways for learners? What are some cost effective teaching methods for schools and educators to equip educators in new technologies and instructional designs? How can educators implement more high level questions into technological criteria to make learning more effective?
Axley, L. (2008). The Integration of Technology into Nursing Curriculum: Supporting Faculty via the Technology Fellowship Program. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing 13(3), Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MaianMenuCategories…Article/PreviousTopic/IntegrationofTechnology.html.
Holly, C. (2009). The Case of Distant Education in Nursing. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 5(3), Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol5no3/holly_0909.htm.
Russell, A.T. (2007). Teaching Strategies Promoting Active Learning in Healthcare Education. Journal of Education and Human Development 1(1), Retrieved from http://www.scientificjournals.org/journals2007/articles/1025.htm.
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