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Effect of conversation on nursing student outcomes in a Web-based course on cardiac rhythm interpretation

, Georgia State University, United States

Georgia State University . Awarded


The demand for professional nursing care is expected to rise dramatically during the next 20 years. Decreased enrollments in nursing programs and an aging RN workforce will exacerbate the shortage of nurses. One clear method for increasing the supply of nurses is to increase the number of graduates from nursing programs. Distance education is an important option to investigate because it can offer a convenient way for students to attend school while working, having a family, or living far from educational institutions. However, teaching in web-based courses requires thoughtful consideration of instructional design, including ways to fully engage students in the learning process.

The purpose of this study was to examine differences in cognitive learning, student satisfaction, and motivation to complete a web-based course on cardiac rhythm interpretation when instructional support was varied. A post-test only experimental design was used. Nursing students were randomly selected from a pool of 388 volunteers and then randomly assigned into experimental and control groups. All participants were exposed to web-based instruction that contained identical didactic material but varied in delivery. Participants in the experimental group used chat rooms, electronic mail, and discussion groups with fellow students and with the instructor during the instruction period while those in the control group worked alone. Data were collected using a demographic instrument, researcher-developed course examinations, a measure of course satisfaction, and an estimate of motivation to complete the course.

Comparisons of student outcomes between the control and experimental groups showed no significant differences for cognitive learning and motivation to complete the course. However, a significant difference was found on the semantic differential scale indicating that participants in the experimental group were significantly more satisfied with the course than those who worked alone.

The study demonstrates the need for educators to offer web-based courses judiciously and to plan educational strategies carefully. When used appropriately, web-based courses can enhance student satisfaction. More research is needed to determine the best strategies to enhance student learning outcomes and to decrease student attrition.


Frith, K.H. Effect of conversation on nursing student outcomes in a Web-based course on cardiac rhythm interpretation. Ph.D. thesis, Georgia State University. Retrieved March 24, 2019 from .

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