University of Oulu

Pramila-Savukoski, S., Kärnä, R., Kuivila, H.-M., Juntunen, J., Koskenranta, M., Oikarainen, A., & Mikkonen, K. (2023). The influence of digital learning on health sciences students’ competence development– A qualitative study. Nurse Education Today, 120, 105635.

The influence of digital learning on health sciences students’ competence development : a qualitative study

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Author: Pramila-Savukoski, Sari1; Kärnä, Raila1; Kuivila, Heli-Maria1;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, P.O. Box 5000, FI- 90014, University of Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-01-24


Background: Health care experts need high levels of competence, yet there is little evidence on the influence of digital learning on health science students’ competence development.

Objectives: This study aims to describe health sciences students’ experiences of the development of their competence and the influences of digital learning upon their competence.

Design: A qualitative descriptive research.

Participants: A total of 15 health sciences students were interviewed.

Methods: The data was collected by using individual semi-structured interviews during the spring of 2021. The data was analyzed using content analysis.

Results: The health sciences students felt that their expertise encompasses motivation for future career development, understanding the social and professional influences on their career development, versatile expertise in various aspects of health sciences, and developing competence in different learning environments. The students recognized that digital learning requires the active participation, digitalization is a part of a successful learning environment, and digital learning challenges social interactions. The students’ digital learning facilitated competence development, which broadened their understanding of skills relevant to health sciences; however, these benefits could only be obtained when including adequate support.

Conclusions: The results hold social value for the development of health sciences education as policy-makers can use the presented information to develop high-quality, digital learning procedures.

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Series: Nurse education today
ISSN: 0260-6917
ISSN-E: 1532-2793
ISSN-L: 0260-6917
Volume: 120
Article number: 105635
DOI: 10.1016/j.nedt.2022.105635
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
316 Nursing
3141 Health care science
Funding: This research is connected to the GenZ project, a strategic profiling project in human sciences at the University of Oulu. The project is supported by the Academy of Finland (project number 318930) and the University of Oulu.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (