MANUSCRIPT: A mixed-method research to investigate the adoption of mobile devices and Web2.0 technologies among medical students and educators
The past decade has witnessed the increasing adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in medical education. Recently, the notion of digital habitats, Web 2.0 supported learning environments, has also come onto the scene. While there has been initial research on the use of digital habitats for educational purposes, very limited research has examined the adoption of digital habitats by medical students and educators on mobile devices. This paper reports the Stage 1 findings of a two-staged study. The whole study aimed to develop and implement a personal digital habitat, namely digiMe, for medical students and educators at an Australian university. The first stage, however, examined the types of Web 2.0 tools and mobile devices that are being used by potential digiMe users, and reasons for their adoption.
In this first stage of research, data were collected through a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Questionnaire data collected from 104 participants were analysed using the Predictive Analytics SoftWare (PASW). Frequencies, median and mean values were pursued. Kruskal Wallis tests were then performed to examine variations between views of different participant groups. Notes from the 6 interviews, together with responses to the open-ended section of the questionnaire, were analysed using the constructivist grounded theory approach, to generate key themes relevant to the adoption of Web 2.0 tools and mobile devices.
The findings reflected the wide use of mobile devices, including both smart phones and computing tablets, by medical students and educators for learning, teaching and professional development purposes. Among the 22 types of Web 2.0 tools investigated, less than half of these tools were frequently used by the participants, this reflects the mismatch between users’ desires and their actual practice. Age and occupation appeared to be the influential factors for their adoption. Easy access to information and improved communication are main purposes.
This paper highlights the desire of medical students and educators for a more effective use of Web 2.0 technologies and mobile devices, and the observed mismatch between the desire and their actual practice. It also recognises the critical role of medical education institutions in facilitating this practice to respond to the mismatch.