Collaborative learning of nursing students and social and health care educators’ competence in a digital learning environment

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Leena Palotie -sali 101A (Aapistie 5A)

Topic of the dissertation

Collaborative learning of nursing students and social and health care educators’ competence in a digital learning environment

Doctoral candidate

MNSc Merja Männistö

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, Medical Research Center Oulu

Subject of study

Nursing Science


Professor Hannele Turunen, University of Eastern Finland, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing Science


Professor Maria Kääriäinen, University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Research unit of Nursing and health management

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Collaborative learning of nursing students and social and health care educators’ competence in a digital learning environment

The purpose of this study was to describe and evaluate the effects of educational intervention on collaborative learning in digital learning environment among nursing students and to explain social and health care educators’ competence required to conduct the following. The study aimed to generate new knowledge about digital collaborative learning to develop nursing education and educators’ pedagogical competence. This study included three sub-studies. The first sub-study described the implementation of previous educational interventions (n = 5) in digital learning environment and their impact on learning outcomes in nursing education through a systematic review.

In the second sub-study, a quasi-experimental design with experimental (n = 63) and control (n = 31) groups was used to evaluate the effects of teaching in digital learning environment on nursing students’ collaborative learning and learning satisfaction with the course compared to classroom teaching before and after the course. In addition, the level of knowledge of health promotion was evaluated numerically by exam after the course.

The data were collected from nursing students using the Collaborative learning and Learning satisfaction -instrument on the Basics of health promotion course. The data were analyzed by statistical methods. The third sub-study described the levels and profiles of digital collaborative learning competence of social and health care educators and explained factors using a cross-sectional study. The data was collected from social and health care educators (n = 422) by a questionnaire measuring the competence of the educators. Data was analyzed by statistical multivariate methods.

According to a systematic review, collaborative learning in a digital learning environment improved students’ theoretical knowledge and clinical skills compared to those in classroom education. It also developed problem-solving skills and in-creased students’ satisfaction in learning. Educational interventions reported in the systematic review were carried out in courses that included both theoretical knowledge and clinical practice.

Educational intervention developed in this study had a positive effect on students’ learning outcomes, but students’ learning satisfaction decreased after the intervention, however, being higher in intervention group than in the control group. Educators evaluated their competence on collaborative digital learning as moderate. The educators were identified in three competence pro-files, the main explanation of profiles and the level of competences was the current organization of work. Educators at vocational schools rate their competence on digital collaborative learning as statistically significantly lower than those at university of applied sciences.

Digital collaborative learning can be implemented in courses including theoretical knowledge and clinical skills. Digital learning environment fosters collaborative learning of nursing students’, but attention should be paid to the role of educator (as an instructor/supporter/promoter of learning).
Last updated: 1.3.2023