|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2014 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 69-70
Electronic learning in Iran's medical schools; students' need for basic computer skills
Afshin Khani1, Shaghayegh Fahimi2, Sedighe Alinejad2, Zohre Rastgar3, Maryam Ghaemi4
1 Student Research Committee; Student Committee of Education Development Center, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran
2 Student Research Committee, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran
3 Student Committee of Education Development Center, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran
4 Education Development Center, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran
|Date of Web Publication||11-Jun-2014|
Ganjafrouz Av., Babol University of Medical Science, Babol, Mazandaran
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Khani A, Fahimi S, Alinejad S, Rastgar Z, Ghaemi M. Electronic learning in Iran's medical schools; students' need for basic computer skills. Educ Health 2014;27:69-70
We have read with a great interest the recent article by El Shallaly et al. that was published in Education for Health.  In this article, the authors introduced a novel evaluation method of medical students in a surgical clerkship using computers and electronic devices.
The evolution from traditional methods toward more modern educational techniques, including electronic learning (E-learning), is now required in medical education, with so much information to be taught. Nevertheless, there are a number of barriers and challenges that must be addressed before E-learning modalities can be undertaken.
Iran's medical schools have been interested in implemented E-learning approaches in recent years; several national meetings are held each year to help educators improve the electronic educational material, software design, evaluation methods and outcomes of these modules. In E-learning modules, students have access to educational material through online or offline systems. Consequently, self-directed learning skills among students play an important role in the success of E-learning.
While much attention is devoted to implementing E-learning modules, improving students' skills in self-directed learning as the pre-request of this method is relatively neglected. Students must have skills such as familiarity with computers, software and accessing Internet information and services that are commonly used in E-learning. However, several descriptive studies have shown that Iranian medical students are not sufficiently familiar with these skills. ,, We conducted a survey among first year students of our university, Iran's Babol University of Medical Sciences, regarding their basic computer knowledge and familiarity with common software and Internet services that they will need in E-learning. A total of 250 students were surveyed using a cluster random sampling approach. Of the study population, 199 (79.6%) participants returned completed questionnaires.
Similar to previous studies, most students were not sufficiently familiar with computers and the software we queried [Table 1]. Although 82.4% of students had accessibility to a computer at their home, only 22.5% reported that they had participated in a computer education course before entering the university, and 77% believed that the medical school should conduct a computer course in the first semester of the medical curriculum.
|Table 1: Self-rated level of familiarity with common software and internet services among fi rst-year medical students (n=199)|
Click here to view
Our survey showed that our students need certain prerequisites, including basic computer skills, before implementing E-learning modules. Based on our data and similar studies, we suggest that some developing countries like Iran should offer educational workshops on use of computers and the software that are used in E-learning modules. This should be offered within the curriculum for first year medical students.
| References|| |
|1.||El Shallaly GE, Mekki AM. Use of computer-based clinical examination to assess medical students in surgery. Educ Health 2012;25:148-52. |
|2.||Lotfnejadafshar H, Habibi SH, Ghaderipakdel F. Evaluation of Urmia Medical Students' Knowledge of Computers and Informatics. Health Inf Manag 2007;4:33-41. |
|3.||Sarbaz M, Vahedian M. Effective factors in learning how to work with computer by students of Mashad School of Health and paramedcal sciences. Iran J Med Educ 2006;6:141-2. |
|4.||Amini M, Sagheb M, Moghadami M, Shayegh S. The rate of knowledge and practice of medical residents of shiraz medical school in regard to evidence-based medicine. Strides Dev Med Educ J 2007;4:30-5. |