MANUSCRIPT: Attitudes and Perceptions of Medical Undergraduates Towards Mobile Learning (M-learning)
Mobile technology is one of the latest extensions of technological innovations that can be integrated into medical education. With the aid of these devices, students learn faster outside the classroom by having quick access to the internet and easy retrieval of required health related learning resources to keep alongside of recent trend and development. In medicine practice one has to continuously update his/her medical knowledge and mobile learning will serve as a tool for self-directed learning.
To explore the attitudes and perceptions of undergraduate students towards M-learning.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
This educational research included 90 third year MBBS students having clinical posting under the Department of Community Medicine from tertiary healthcare institute in Nashik. Students learning approach was studied with the help of pre-validated questionnaire to know whether they have deep or surface approach to learning. M-learning group was formed on mobile social app to supplement conventional teaching-learning. One subject topic (Tuberculosis, Dengue fever/DHF, Hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus etc.) per week was allotted and after conventional teaching on first day of week the learning materials for the topic chosen for that week were uploaded on the group and students could download as well as share their ideas, learning resources, ask doubts and answer questions at least twice weekly through this mobile platform anytime, anywhere. At the end of three months students attitudes and perceptions towards M-learning were studied by pre-validated structured questionnaires. A five point Likert scale was used (5= strongly agree to 1= strongly disagree) for answering each item of all three questionnaires. The score of 60% (90 out of 150) and the score of 75% (30 out of 40) for each item was considered as the measure that indicates whether or not the student had a positive attitude and perceived the importance of M-learning respectively. Utilisation of M-learning was also studied.
It was found that 47 (52.2%) students had deep learning approach, 10 (11.1%) students had surface learning approach. An 80% of students had positive attitude towards M-learning and 76.7% students had perceived the importance of M-learning. A 52.2% of students were actively involved in M-learning group for learning purpose. But 57.8% students did not download (at least twice weekly) the shared reference material, 38.9% students never read and/or replied to the questions asked and 60.0% students never asked any doubts/questions related to the discussion.
Students had positive attitude and perceived the importance of M-learning. But when they were provided with the opportunity, they did not show appreciable M-learning utilization. This could be because, M-learning was not implemented by all departments; also it was not the part of student’s regular assessment and probably a lesser study duration.