Abstract of Dissertation

Keyword : Online Learning, Medical Colleges, IT Infrastructure

Objective : The main objective of this study is to ascertain the preparedness for online learning in the medical colleges of MP.

Background : Madhya Pradesh (MP), an Empowered Action Group (EAG) state is located in the heart of India and is encumbered with prominent social developmental challenges. Achieving the Millennium Developmental Goals(MDGs) by 2015 is paradoxical. Thus there is an urgent need to think out of box and focus on arenas such as building the capacity of the medical colleges along with the doctors (PG students/faculty) in an innovative way. Online learning can be used as an effective tool for attaining this objective. However online learning requires a certain level of institutional preparedness (IT infrastructure). Also its important to gauge the perception and acceptance related to online learning among the doctors/PG students. The current study focuses on this conspicuous domain.

Methodology : Quantitative study is used to collect data on availability of IT infrastructure and logistics for online learning with the help of checklist. To reckon the usage, perception and acceptance of online learning among participants, qualitative study is adopted and data is collected through semi structured interviews.

Findings : Four themes related to usage, perception and acceptance emerged out. They were on 1) knowledge about online learning 2) challenges of online learning 3) benefits of online learning 4) views on using online learning as a mode of further research/study. As far as IT infrastructure is concerned though the medical colleges have sound internet connection but the some participants lack time allocation in working hours for online learning and face the problem of internet connection when it comes to their personal connection. Furthermore many colleges don’t have any separate IT wing to address the errors or issues related to IT. Acceptance for online learning in medical settings among the study participants have issue related to the “dearth of human touch and virtual effect” unlike the face to face teacher student interaction in traditional learning as one of the main backlogs. Though internet connection is present in all the medical colleges but separate IT department was required in around 50% of them. Finding time to do online courses along with the busy schedule of the doctors was yet another challenge