Postgraduate Online Teaching in Healthcare: An Analysis of Student Perspectives

Cuisle Forde, Silvia Gallagher


The use of online learning in postgraduate teaching has increased dramatically in recent years. Health-care professionals can benefit from the flexibility afforded by online learning to fulfil their continuing professional development goals. Understanding student expectations, concerns, and experiences of such courses is crucial for the development and successful facilitation of this education modality. The aim of this paper was to examine student perspectives of an online postgraduate certificate in clinical exercise prescription. A set of recommendations based on these findings was also created which may serve to inform those involved in online education.

Students expressed their expectations and concerns about taking the course before it began, and completed surveys on their experience after module completion. A multi-method approach using both qualitative content analysis and quantitative survey analysis was used to analyze student responses on the online modules in the virtual learning environment.

Students (n = 19) had a combination of academic, personal, and clinical expectations entering the course. Concerns entering the course included ability to reach academic standards set by the course due to personal circumstances or lack of academic ability; the ability to manage time and workload; and the online nature of the course. Students felt supported throughout the course, although some had difficulties keeping up with the workload or managing their time. Results of this study can be used to inform the structure and coordination of online modules, in particular in the postgraduate healthcare setting.


student support, postgraduate, recommendations, student perspective

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