Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Distance Learning: Effectiveness of an Interdisciplinary Course in Speech Pathology and Dentistry

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Distance Learning: Effectiveness of an Interdisciplinary Course in Speech Pathology and Dentistry

Article excerpt

Introduction

Overview of Distance Learning

The global improvement of the information and communication technology is an unquestionable reality, and people have more possibilities to access online sources every day. Based on this trend, the health field has the opportunity to increase its benefits, mainly on continuing the education of professionals.

Distance learning allows the student to study independently, according to his/her pace and spatiotemporal planning, and face-to-face meetings may occur offering opportunities for the socialization and the collaborative learning (Aretio, 2001).

Reports on distance learning are found in literature in the medicine field (Gardella, Guarin, & Vive, 2003; Llambi et al., 2007; Pinto et al., 2008; VanLue et al., 2007) and, mainly, in the nursing field (Campbell, Gibson, Hall, Richards, & Callery, 2008; Edwards, 2005; Holtslander, Racine, Furniss, Burles, & Turner, 2012; Teles Filho & Cassiani, 2008; Xelegati & Evora, 2011). The quality of the service of tele-education and tele-assistance has been proved by different authors (Eskenazi, Martins, & Ferreira, 2013; Hersh, Junium, Mailhot, & Tidmarsh, 2001; Rafiq & Merrell, 2005; Roine, Ohinmaa, & Hailey, 2001; Shaikh, Lehmann, Kaleida, & Cohen, 2008; Vuckovic et al., 2003); however, the cost-effectiveness relation still deserves investigation (Soirefmann, Blom, Leopoldo, & Cestari, 2008).

In the nursing field, Teles Filho and Cassiani (2008) developed and evaluated a module on Medication Administration offered on a web-based virtual learning environment. The researchers used the Engagement Theory as a theoretical and methodological approach in the study carried out in two stages: the creation of the module and its evaluation by specialists. The instructional material had little amount of information on each screen and different font styles, sizes, and colors were used to highlight the contents. It also had images to ease the understanding and make the environment more attractive. The specialists (nurses, postgraduates, and professors) evaluated the material as to the content and informatics. They evaluated the module positively regarding the content distribution and accessibility, the use of images, and the explicitness and easiness to execute the program. So, the researchers concluded the module is appropriate to be used with students from the Nursing course.

Xelegati and Evora (2011) developed a virtual learning environment (VLE) for continuing training in order to manage and prevent adverse events in the nursing field. The authors used a threestage model, known as Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI), to develop the VLE. This model consists of exercise and practice, tutorial and simulation, as well as problem solving. The structure used for the VLE was the non-linear "interactive book" that encompasses some resources such as interactions of hypertexts, videos, sounds, static images, or animations. The authors initially identified the target public, chose the theme, and defined the objectives to be addressed, the resources available, and the instructional design. Then, the course was offered in five modules that consisted of contents, exercises, references, and supporting texts. They concluded that the development of a virtual learning environment addressing the management of adverse events will contribute to the awareness of nurses regarding the types of events, risk factors, classification, and incidence. However, a technical and content evaluation of the VLE is necessary to enable the use of the material in the continuing education of nurses in health institutions.

Regarding the distance learning in the medical field, Hersh, Junium, Mailhot and Tidmarsh (2001) developed and evaluated a distance learning course to be used in continuing education in medical informatics. The course was offered in the Blackboard Course info software as it presents a much simpler and consistent user's interface, which was compatible with the teaching modalities the authors planned on using. …

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