Delivering Health Education via the World Wide Web: An Investigation of Collaborative Learning Environments

Year: 2000


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper presents the experiences and outcomes of a project which sought to investigate the efficacy of using Web-based learning within preservice teaching health education. The study involved the pedagogical re-conceptualisation of the course; the design, development and formative evaluation of a prototype Web site to support the learning activities; and the design and implementation of experiments that explored the strengths and weaknesses of each of face-to-face and Web-based learning environments in facilitating collaborative health education learning activities.

The findings suggest Web-based learning environments with embedded collaborative activities effectively foster health-related knowledge, attitude and behaviour change. The nature of interaction among learners in different environments suggests that Web-based environments might best facilitate health education activities that explore controversial or confronting issues. Learners perceive great value in aspects of face-to-face tutorials that are not easily transferred to the Web æ particularly immediate interaction with the lecturer. Nevertheless, students perceive Web-based learning to be effective in facilitating their understanding of health education issues as much as or more than face-to-face situations.