The use of an online learning management system by postgraduate nursing students at a selected higher educational institution in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

L I Buthelezi, J M van Wyk


Background. The use of information and communications technology (ICT) in nursing education is a key strategy following the impact of COVID-19 on higher education institutions. It highlights the need for efficient learning management systems and meta-capabilities of graduates. Studies have described e-learning at the undergraduate level, while less is known about learning management systems (LMS) use among postgraduate nurses.

Objectives. To explore students’ perceptions of e-learning, their perceived challenges with technology on a compulsory postgraduate nursing module and associations between demographic data and listed challenges.

Methods. An exploratory quantitative study used a self-administered questionnaire to collect data from all postgraduate students (N=60). Data included demographics, language proficiency, prior training, computer access at home, frequency of use, prior exposure to e-learning platforms, attitude to technology, perceived computer self-efficacy, and anxiety and attitude towards computer use for learning. Statistical analysis included using frequency distributions, χ2 and Pearson’s test to measure and explore associations between challenges and sociodemographic factors.

Results. The cohort consisted of mainly black (95%) and female (75%) students. They expressed positive views about technology usage. Seventy percent reported first-time exposure to the Moodle learning management system at the university, and 68.3% had access to a computer. The majority (66.7%) expressed having limited ICT skills and difficulty using Moodle. Statistically significant associations were found between the ability to use Moodle and proficiency in English, computer literacy, availability of technical support and access to computers.

Conclusion. E-learning has the potential to yield positive outcomes for continued professional learning. Students should be proficient in English, and require early introduction, training and technical support to use Moodle effectively.

Authors' affiliations

L I Buthelezi, Department of Clinical and Professional Practice, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

J M van Wyk, Department of Clinical and Professional Practice, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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African Journal of Health Professions Education 2020;12(4):211-214. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2020.v12i4.1391

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-12-01
Date published: 2020-12-01

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