Enhancing the online learning experience using virtual interactive classrooms
Australian Nursing Federation
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Objective Enhancing online learning through the design, implementation and evaluation of a project piloting virtual interactive classrooms. Design The virtual interactive classroom (classroom) design was underpinned with current best practice in higher education pedagogy. Evaluation of the project used a cross-sectional, electronic survey. Setting This study was undertaken at a School of Nursing and Midwifery in a Western Australia University. Subjects 144 nurse students: 130 undergraduate, 14 postgraduate. Interventions Classroom options were introduced into two online units, incorporating blended learning approaches and promoting active participation in learning. Main outcome measures Quantitative measures included student demographics, ease of classroom navigation, percentage participating in the classroom option in real-time and those who did so actively (questioning, discussing, etc.). Qualitative data of student learning experiences informed the findings further. Results Fifty-six percent of enrolled students participated in classrooms in real-time and 9% viewed recorded sessions. The survey response rate was 56%. Non-traditional students were highly represented; with 65% of undergraduate and 100% of postgraduate students being mature-age. Seventy-one percent of undergraduate and 89% of postgraduate survey responders who participated in classrooms in real-time did so actively. The most common reason for non-participation in real-time was family and work commitments (76%). Participating students gave overwhelming positive feedback of the classroom experience, in particular around its interactive nature, blended learning approaches and user-friendliness. Conclusion The classrooms supported active student participation in online learning. Students valued the interactive and blended learning features, known to be congruent with effective learning, student satisfaction and retention.