INTERNET USE: DISRUPTIVE OR ENHANCING TOWARDS LEARNING? VIEWS & PERCEPTIONS OF UNDERGRADUATE MEDICAL STUDENTS
Internet Use: Disruptive Or Enhancing Towards Learning?
Objective: To describe the perceptions & behaviors of undergraduate medical students regarding the use of internet.
Study design: Cross-sectional descriptive study.
Place and Duration of Study: Army Medical College, National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) Rawalpindi, from January 2014 to June 2014.
Methodology: Data had been obtained from volunteer undergraduate medical students who were computer literate and were using the internet facility in their daily routine. Students, who did not have the computer and internet using skills and were not using the internet services, were excluded from this study. A structured questionnaire was used which included following items: duration and frequency of internet use, impact of internet use on academic grades, influence of internet usage on relationships with friends and family, effect of overuse on sleep cycle and having the self-knowledge of being internet addicted.
Results: Two hundred and twelve students gave consent to participate in this study. Different perceptions of undergraduate medical students regarding the internet use were observed: 64 (30.2%) students spent about two hours daily in internet surfing and 79 (37.3%) participants in our study utilized internet facility for social networking while 67 (31.6%) used it for educational and learning purposes. A total of 147 (69.3%) participants reported that internet use enhanced their learning and had a positive effect on their academic grades.
Conclusion: Our study concludes that internet-using skill is a very powerful tool in today’s world with regards to academic learning. With appropriate guidance and support, students can get maximum benefit from this facility and can enhance their learning capabilities. Institutes should play their role by making every student computer literate and also by making on-campus advisory services available to figure out internet abuse related issues of the students.