Utility Of E-learning in Community Medicine: A Mixed Methods Assessment Among Indian Medical Students
Introduction: We conducted this study to assess the utility of e-learning as a teaching and learning method in Community Medicine using quantitative and qualitative methods. Methods: We carried out a cross sectional study to fulfill the study objectives for a period of three months. The study participants were undergraduate students of a Private Medical College, who were exposed to e-learning conducted by the Department of Community Medicine. Thus, we invited a total of 437 students to take part in this study. A self-administered, pre-tested, pre-designed and validated questionnaire was used for quantitative assessment. Qualitative assessment was conducted by a Force Field Analysis (FFA) on a subset of the study population. Results: A total of 323 medical students participated in the study, of which 82.35% believed that they were confident overall in using a computer, 78.33% considered themselves as having good computer skills. Majority utilized e-learning (76.16%) while 81.74% reported that they are confident in use of e-learning. Demonstration videos if uploaded would be useful according to 76.78% of the study participants. Most of the study participants agreed that e-learning is useful (62.29%). Through FFA, we were able to identify certain key driving forces associated with e-learning use. Moreover, factors like lack of user friendliness and a slow network were identified as restraining forces. Conclusion: Majority were of the opinion that e-learning is an effective learning tool. However, successful execution of an e-learning programme can be ensured if the barriers are overcome and orientation programmes are conducted.