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Keywords:

  • attitudes;
  • e-learning;
  • experience;
  • health professions education;
  • information and communication technology;
  • literature review;
  • measurement;
  • nurse education

Abstract

Title. Measurement of information and communication technology experience and attitudes to e-learning of students in the healthcare professions: integrative review.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a review to describe and discuss the psychometric properties of instruments used in healthcare education settings measuring experience and attitudes of healthcare students regarding their information and communication technology skills and their use of computers and the Internet for education.

Background.  Healthcare professionals are expected to be computer and information literate at registration. A previous review of evaluative studies of computer-based learning suggests that methods of measuring learners’ attitudes to computers and computer aided learning are problematic.

Data sources.  A search of eight health and social science databases located 49 papers, the majority published between 1995 and January 2007, focusing on the experience and attitudes of students in the healthcare professions towards computers and e-learning.

Review methods.  An integrative approach was adopted, with narrative description of findings. Criteria for inclusion were quantitative studies using survey tools with samples of healthcare students and concerning computer and information literacy skills, access to computers, experience with computers and use of computers and the Internet for education purposes.

Results.  Since the 1980s a number of instruments have been developed, mostly in the United States of America, to measure attitudes to computers, anxiety about computer use, information and communication technology skills, satisfaction and more recently attitudes to the Internet and computers for education. The psychometric properties are poorly described.

Conclusion.  Advances in computers and technology mean that many earlier tools are no longer valid. Measures of the experience and attitudes of healthcare students to the increased use of e-learning require development in line with computer and technology advances.