Learner perceptions of the importance of situated learning design components in a self-study internet-based continuing education program.
Wright, Dale S.
MetadataShow full item record
Situated learning in which knowledge is gained in the context of problem situations reflecting its use in practice, is one approach recommended to help professionals in continuing education programs acquire tricks of the trade used by experts, while learning program content. To explore the applicability of situated learning to continuing pharmacy education at a distance, a situated learning design framework was chosen to guide the design of a self-study Internet-based continuing education program to help practicing pharmacists learn how to use the Internet as a drug information resource. A non-experimental study design, consisting of a written survey and semi-structured interviews, was used to determine which situated learning components of the program pharmacist learners perceived to be important to their learning, and to determine if there was a difference between experienced and novice Internet users in the value they placed on various situated learning components of the program. Pharmacist learners valued the contribution to their learning of course elements representing nine of the 10 key situated learning components. There was no difference between novice and experienced Internet users in the value they placed on any of the program's situated learning design components. The situated learning component least valued by pharmacists in both groups was the collaborative learning opportunity provided by the bulletin board. Overall, it appears that the situated learning framework used in this study is relevant to the design of distance-delivered, independent-study continuing pharmacy education programs. An issue that remains to be addressed is whether collaborative learning through a bulletin board can make a valuable contribution to learning in a continuous enrolment type of course such as this one.