International Journal of Academic Medicine

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2021  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 10--14

Unmasking the impact of m-learning on medical undergraduates


Preksha Sharma1, Neha Sharma2, Neeru Sharma3, Dhruva Sharma4,  
1 Department of Anatomy, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Pharmacology and Cardiothoracic, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, JNU, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
4 Department of Vascular Surgery, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dhruva Sharma
Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, SMS Medical College and Attached Group of Hospitals, JLN Marg, Jaipur - 302 001, Rajasthan
India

Abstract

Introduction: Newer m-learning devices have become an integral part of medical education. Documentation of impact of these m-learning devices on medical education is still conflicting. The objective of the study was to determine the impact of m-learning on medical undergraduates. Materials and Methods: After obtaining Institutional Ethics Committee approval, this descriptive type of cross-sectional study was carried out among first to fifth semester MBBS undergraduates at a tertiary care teaching hospital. A 31 item prevalidated questionnaire was distributed among respondents and responses were evaluated. Results: Two hundred and sixty-six completely filled responses were obtained. Male preponderance was seen. Most of the students spent 2–4 h on mobile phones. 54.51% students had knowledge regarding m-learning. 79.8 students had medical apps on their electronic portable devices. There has been an improvement in the communication skills among respondents due to m-learning. Some disadvantages were also documented in our study which includes distraction from studies and use of other applications. Conclusion: The awareness about change in the pattern of learning among medical students from “bench-side” to “web-site” is the need of the hour. Internet connectivity is the major area of concern to be looked upon for better m-learning. The following core competencies are addressed in this article: Medical knowledge, Practice-based learning, and Communication skills.



How to cite this article:
Sharma P, Sharma N, Sharma N, Sharma D. Unmasking the impact of m-learning on medical undergraduates.Int J Acad Med 2021;7:10-14


How to cite this URL:
Sharma P, Sharma N, Sharma N, Sharma D. Unmasking the impact of m-learning on medical undergraduates. Int J Acad Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jul 24 ];7:10-14
Available from: https://www.ijam-web.org/text.asp?2021/7/1/10/311886


Full Text



 Introduction



Newer m-learning devices have become an integral part of medical education. Documentation of impact of these m-learning devices on medical education is still conflicting.[1] Learners can easily access a wide range of informative medical educational tools that are available on these portable devices.[2] Positive impact of m-learning on medical education has been reported in previous literature.[3] In some studies, m-learning has been reported as equally effective to traditional medical education teaching methods.[3],[4] It empowers more stationed and contingent learning.[5]

Objectives

The objective of the study was to determine the impact of m-learning among medical undergraduates.

Assumption

The study will be based on the following:

The student will have some knowledge regarding m-learningThe student will have some interest to know about m-learningSensitization of students will improve their knowledge.

Sample size

Sample size was calculated as 280 students as per previous study showing the importance of m-learning as 76.6% for 80% power, 0.05 α error, and 10% relative error.[6]

 Methodology



After taking Institutional Ethics Committee approval, this descriptive type of cross-sectional study was carried out among first to fifth semester MBBS undergraduates at a tertiary care teaching hospital. Based on previous studies, a 31-item prevalidated questionnaire was prepared which comprised of mixture of open-ended, closed-ended questions, and five-point Likert scale questions assessing perceived advantages and disadvantages of m-learning.[1],[6] Participation in the study was voluntary, and confidentiality of data was maintained. The students were informed about the study design and protocol, and the importance of participation in the study and their consent was taken. This prevalidated questionnaire was provided to the first to fifth semester MBBS students as Google form on their devices. The responses were collected over a period of 4 weeks through E-mail. Incompletely filled questionnaires were not included in the study.

The questionnaire consisted of three parts. Part-A consisted of demographic profile of medical undergraduates and Part-B assessed knowledge, attitude, and practices of m-learning among medical students. The individual responses obtained from the study participants were then compiled, processed, and analyzed. After this, the students were sensitized about the pros and cons of m-learning.

Statistical analysis

Statistical evaluation of the data obtained was done on Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software, version 16.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). Descriptive analysis (mean ± standard deviation) of the data was done. The Chi-square test was applied to compare the gender based significance of difference in the knowledge of students regarding self-medication and antibiotic resistance. The level of significance was set at P < 0.05 (highly significant).

 Results



Questionnaire was provided to 280 students out of which 266 responses were obtained. Sixteen incompletely filled questionnaires were excluded. Demographic details of the students are depicted in [Table 1]. Male preponderance was seen in our study.{Table 1}

All students had mobile phones. Sixty-one percent students had laptop, 25.2% had tablets, and 13.8% had both laptops and tablets, apart from owing smart phones. 93.4% respondents had android with 4G connection, 1.2% had android with 3G while 5.4% were owning an i-phone. Most of the students spent 2–4 h on mobile phones. Details of time spent on mobile phones by the respondents are illustrated in [Table 2].{Table 2}

Although 89.8% respondents were using mobile phones for educational purpose, only 54.51% students knew accurately about the actual meaning of m-learning. Gender-based significance of difference of knowledge regarding m-learning was determined by calculating the Chi-square value (χ2) and P value, as shown in [Table 3]. It was found nonsignificant as the value of P > 0.05.{Table 3}

83.2% used to operate mobile at home, 1.2% in the library, 4.3% in between lectures while 11.3% used in lecture theater also.

85.9% students used to download study materials from the Internet for future reading. 52.9% students used to learn from online powerpoint presentations available at different sites on the internet. While 88.3% students used to see online video lectures from the Internet.

70.9% had e-books on their phones, tabs and laptops. 44.5% opted tabs as the best tool to study online, whereas 37.2% found mobiles as better option for m-learning. However, 18.2% students opined to study from laptops. 79.8 students had medical apps on their electronic portable devices.

Responses of students regarding m-learning on five-point Likert-scale are shown in detail in [Table 4] and [Figure 1].{Figure 1}{Table 4}

A postsession lecture on the importance of m-learning was arranged to reinforce the knowledge of students.

 Discussion



M-learning was enthusiastically explored by voracious medical learners during the last decennium. Nevertheless, it cannot supercede other learning methods. In our study, students made good use of mobile devices, and this result was in accordance with other studies.[1],[6],[7] There has been an improvement in the communication skills among respondents due to m-learning. This result corroborates with the results of another recently published studies.[1],[8]

We could actually appreciate acquisition of greater knowledge among ethically sensitive students.[9] Some students reported positive influence on practical as well as theoretical aspects of learning.[10],[11],[12]

Sixty-nine percent of respondents in our study admitted that, m-learning helped them in making studies more-interesting. They were able to study anywhere with the help of these portable learning devices. Of late, it has been revealed in the literature that m-learning generated potential avenues for reviewing instructional materials and proved to be an invaluable resource for immediate feedback and other educational purposes.[13],[14]

Despite the advantages of m-learning, our students could report some of its disadvantages, as elaborated in [Table 5]. We could collect some disadvantages of m-learning as reported in previous studies also.[15],[16],[17],[18] Use of other apps rather than educational one (38% of students) and difficulty in concentration during study (25% of students) were reported by majority of students. However, risk of distraction from educational application was accounted in other studies also.[15]{Table 5}

Moreover, matter of availability of electronic devices and accessibility of Internet connectivity and fast streaming in the medical college campus needs to be addressed.[19]

Finally, medical education is influenced by speedily varying medical science and the multifariousness of pedagogical techniques. There is a change in curricular emphasis in undergraduate training, from elementary knowledge attainment to the competency-based medical education in which the learner has to demonstrate competencies. The use of modern technologies for undergraduate and postgraduate students has become progressively prevailing. M-learning provides an educational surroundings that engrosses the learner and accords learning.[20]

The utile quality of mobile devices can potentially play a significant role in reforming medical education. Learners can individualize these tools according to their learning needs, thereby implicating a cognitive process of learning within itself.[21] Nevertheless, appropriate tracking of results should be done to check effectiveness of m-learning.

Potent medical educators are the backbone of medical education. The authors suggest that there should be training sessions for teachers too to successfully accommodate with these newer technologies. Proper functioning of all the related applications should be facilitated to all the involved medical teachers in collaboration with instructors from information technology department to alleviate placid officiating of m-learning. It can be used effectively in the field of medical education and training by educating students as well as teachers. We should not conciliate for anything less than excellence in m-learning.

Limitations of the study

The following limitations were found in our study:

The study was limited to medical students of single college onlyThe study was limited to students who were willing to participate in this studyThe study was limited to students who were available on the day of data collectionThe study was limited to students who could understand Hindi and English.

 Conclusion



The concept of m-learning is still in its primitive phase among health-care professionals and medical students. This study highlights the prevalence of m-learning among medical students and its woeful outcomes. The awareness about change in the pattern of learning among medical students from “bench-side” to “web-site” is the need of the hour. We suggest more study in this field especially in the larger sample of population to get more accurate results. Internet connectivity is the major area of concern to be looked upon for better m-learning.

Acknowledgment

The author would like to acknowledge gratitude to all the medical students who sincerely participated in the study.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical conduct of research

The authors of this manuscript declare that this scientific work complies with reporting quality, formatting and reproducibility guidelines set forth by the EQUATOR Network. The authors also attest that this research study was determined to require Institutional Review Board/Ethics Committee review, and the corresponding protocol/approval number is [3931 MC/EC/2017].

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