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J Adv Med Educ Prof. 2017 Jul;5(3):116-123.

Self- directed learning barriers in a virtual environment: a qualitative study.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
2
Department of Medical Education, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
3
Department of e-learning, Virtual School, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
4
Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
5
Nutrition Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
6
Hematology and Oncology Department, Imam Khomeini Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

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.

METHOD:

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:

Graduate medical education ; Learning; Technology ; Medical education

PMID:
28761885
PMCID:
PMC5522903
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