Online Graduate Study Health Care Learners' Perceptions of Group Work and Helpful Instructional Behaviors.
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Participating in small group activities has emerged as a trend In online learning events. However, little is known about how graduate students experience online group work and what instructional behaviors are perceived as helpful during the group process. This article discusses a qualitative research project that revealed how online health care professionals in two graduate studies programs valued knowing their facilitator was consistently present and available. The project was framed from a constructivist theoretical perspective and a descriptive research design. Participants were health care practitioners who graduated from a Master of Nursing or Master of Health Studies program offered exclusively through a WebCt online environment. Data sources included two focus groups and ten individual audio-tope recorded transcribed interviews. The data was analyzed for themes by two researchers and confirmed with participants through ongoing member checking. The following strategies for creating a safe and engaging online learning climate for members of small project groups are presented. 1) Create groups intentionally. 2) Intervene with non-contributing members. 3) Measure Individual contributions.