Distance Learning in Nursing in Saudi Arabia

Analysis and Critique

Cutting-edge teaching and learning tools have already penetrated the study process. Saudi Arabia has prioritized investments in educational technologies since 1975 with the introduction of the Second national plan (Abouelnaga, Metwally, Mazouz, Abouelmagd, Alsmadi, Aljamaeen, Eljawad & Hamad, 2019). General Administration for Educational Technologies was established in 1985, which eventually led to the creation of the National Center for E-learning in 2007 (Abouelnaga et al., 2019). Leading Saudi universities, like Taiba University and King Saud University, signed formal agreements with the center to implement distance learning programs (Quadri, Muhammed, Sanober, Qureshi & Shah, 2017). However, there are still challenges in the field of distance learning that need to be tackled.

First of all, teachers and instructors lack the technical knowledge to implement e-learning courses. Moreover, medical professors do not have enough time to develop appropriate courses (Quadri et al., 2017). If educators do not possess essential ICT skills, they will not be able to guide and motivate students. Secondly, there are no policies to legitimize and adapt learning programs to the needs of nursing students. At the same time, the spread of the Internet among younger users represents an opportunity for national authorities. Young adults and teenagers constitute 60% of the population of the country (Abouelnaga et al., 2019). They have a unique ability to adopt new formats of learning rapidly. Hence, these social factors have to be taken into account when launching e-courses and programs.

Recommendations

First and foremost, the government of Saudi Arabia should ensure coherent educational policies at all levels of medical education. These policies should provide educators with access to reliable software and allocate time for building e-courses. Moreover, men and women pursuing nursing degrees have differences in preferred ways of gaining information. Women are more motivated than men and choose visual and tactile approaches (Alharbi et al., 2017). Therefore, employed materials have to consider the individual needs of students. Cooperation with foreign universities or online platforms like edX or Coursera can strengthen the existing system.

Enhanced self-learning skills will prepare students for successful navigation in their professional pathways. Professional nursing professionals work in a vibrant environment and need to react to changes promptly. Overall, it is more reasonable to practice blended learning when SDL bolsters traditional teaching methods. Saudi Arabia is a culturally unique country where people of different nationalities live together. As a result, nurses are required to gain cultural competencies to bring essential healthcare services to people.

References

Abouelnaga, H., M., Metwally, A., B., Mazouz, L., A., Abouelmagd, H., Alsmadi, S., Aljamaeen, R., Eljawad, L. & Hamad, A., L. (2019). A Survey on educational technology in Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, 14(22), 4149-4160.

AbuAssi, N., E. & Alkorashy, H., A. (2016). Relationship between learning style and readiness for self-directed learning among nursing students at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Advanced Nursing Studies, 5(2), 109-116. Web.

Alharbi, H., A., Almutairi, A., F., Alhelih, E., M. & Alshehry, A., S. (2017). The learning preferences among nursing students in the King Saud University in Saudi Arabia: A cross-sectional survey. Nursing Research and Practice. Web.

Halabi, J. O., & de Beer, J. (2018). Exploring the cultural competence of undergraduate nursing students in Saudi Arabia. Nurse Education Today, 62, 9–15. Web.

Quadri, N., Muhammed, A., Sanober, S., Qureshi, M., N. & Shah, A. (2017). Barriers effecting successful implementation of e-learning in Saudi Arabian universities. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 12(6), 94-107.