Self- directed learning barriers in a virtual environment: a qualitative study
Introduction: There is a growing trend in online education courses
in higher education institutes. Previous studies have shown that
high levels of self-direction are essential for successful online
learning. The present study aims to investigate challenges of and
barriers to self-directed virtual-learning among postgraduate
students of medical sciences.
Methods: 23 postgraduate virtual students of medical sciences in
Iran, collected through maximum variation purposive sampling
and semi-structured interviews, served as the sample of this
study. The collected data were analyzed using the inductive
content analysis method.
Results: Three themes and six sub-themes were identified as
barriers to self-directed learning in virtual education, including
cognitive barriers (information overload and lack of focus on
learning or mind wondering), communication barriers (inadequate
coping skills and inadequate writing skills) and educational
environment barriers (heavy workload and role ambiguity).
Conclusion: By the importance of self-direction in online
education, the present study results can be used by virtual
education planners in the review and design of courses, so as to
adequately equip students, obviate barriers to self-directed virtual
education, and ultimately train highly self-directed learners in
online medical education.
Keywords: Medical education; Graduate medical education; Technology; Learning
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P ISSN: 2322-2220 E ISSN:2322-3561
Journal Office Address: Education Development Center, 3th floor, Sina Sadra Halls Complex, Neshat Ave., Shiraz, Iran.
Publisher: Shiraz University of Medical Sciences