Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

: 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1189--1194

Utilizing the information and communication technology as a learning tool for students

Shahriar Sakhaei, Hossein Motaarefi, Soryya Zinalpoor, Hassan Ebrahimpour Sadagheyani 
 Department of Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Tehran, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Hassan Ebrahimpour Sadagheyani
Faculty of Nursing, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Tehran


Introduction and Objective: The use of information and communication technology (ICT) to facilitate learning and training the students has led to the learning environment tend to become virtual and to change the communication and learning styles. This study aimed to investigate how students benefit from new learning technologies as a learning tool. Materials and Methods: This study is a descriptive–analytical study; the population included all students of the school of Medical Sciences in 2016, in Khoy, Iran. A questionnaire was used for data collecting. The questionnaire contains 50 questions regarding demographic information, the skills and the benefits of the students of computers and the Internet as the learning tools. After gathering the data, the analysis SPSS version 16 software and descriptive and inferential statistical analysis were used. Results: Students expressed their relatively high access to computers and the Internet (60.7%) and using ICT in learning (59.3%). The students' skills in the use of computers and the Internet (56%) were relatively high (97%). Most of the students used PowerPoint software as a learning tool, and the use of educational websites was relatively high in the nursing group (75%) compared to environmental health (50%). Conclusion: Considering the increased use of information technology proportionate with the students' personal skills and the effectiveness of multimedia educational software and Internet in learning, educational planners should provide access to e-learning by creating the conditions and introducing the high quality and rich educational software.

How to cite this article:
Sakhaei S, Motaarefi H, Zinalpoor S, Sadagheyani HE. Utilizing the information and communication technology as a learning tool for students.Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1189-1194

How to cite this URL:
Sakhaei S, Motaarefi H, Zinalpoor S, Sadagheyani HE. Utilizing the information and communication technology as a learning tool for students. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Jan 25 ];10:1189-1194
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The rapid growth of information and communication technology (ICT) with conventional learning methods has provided new opportunities for students so that they can choose time, location, condition, and learning and use various computer technologies to create and to assign materials for supporting their learning processes. Since the majority of new students and graduates are in the period of network and the Internet generation, use more electronic resources such as files, applications, and multimedia educational software as an educational tool compared to other people.[1] However, more and convenient access of students to the Internet and social networks ease the use of electronic educational materials and health articles, students are expected to use this information to serve the public health benefit.[2]

Advanced technology and increased databases, applications, and educational software programs and accepting them as a tool to facilitate learning, changed face-to-face training approaches to computer-based approaches and forced training systems particularly medical education to use the ICT. Hence, the knowledge and skills to use ICT-based learning tool help the students to meet the needs of information and research.[3]

Using the computers as a learning tool depends on the individual and cultural factors and usefulness feeling. Furthermore, the knowledge and skill of students in using the computers and educational software are important in applying this tool for learning and other educational affairs.[4]

In recent years, various studies were performed related to the knowledge and skills of using computers and the Internet among students and teachers of different fields.

In the study of Hussain and Farooq on computer skills of students, most of the students were not able to use these technologies.[5] Moreover, the study of Kumar et al. indicated that among the 247 participants in the study, only 7.9% used the Internet at the university.[6] However, the use of computers and the Internet in educational institutions, in addition to knowledge and skills of individual students depends on different factors such as existing advanced computer equipment, the number of computers connected to the Internet, network infrastructure, and supporting this equipment to access better services and easier.[7],[8] Among the most important measures to increase the level of knowledge and skill of the students is to hold training courses and to place information technology (IT) and computer usage in the curriculum. The results of numerous studies indicate the positive and significant relation between the use of the Internet and educational software, and the features such as age, English language proficiency, computer skills, research activities, and work experience.[9]

In a study, which was performed to assess media and information literacy of students of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, a significant difference was observed in the information literacy of students in different fields.[10] The reason for this difference is perhaps the necessity of using information sources other than the textbooks in some of the fields, this would depend on the teaching method of teachers and students' assignments, and the students whose teachers have more emphasis on research are more involved in information searching compared to other students.[11] Furthermore, in medical and nursing one of the fundamental causes of low IT literacy, and less use of computers and the Internet is less present in clinical training physically.

Since, nowadays computer and the related IT, affect the categories such as patient assessment, medical diagnosis, complex medical interventions, and nursing care severely, as a result using ICT is considered to be an important subject in training the medical and nursing professions. So that without the use of these tools training and thus providing effective health services will not be provided to patients.[12],[13] Considering the progress of medical science and the need of students to new achievements in science, research and the use of computers and the Internet as a communication tool and an important source of information, this study aimed to determine the benefit skills and usage of the students of nursing, and environmental health engineering, regarding computers and the Internet as a training tool.

 Materials and Methods

This study is a descriptive-analysis that was conducted in 2016. The study population included all students of the School of Medical Sciences of Khoy with a sample size of 150 people. Data were collected by questionnaires which were prepared based on scientific literature [14],[15] and medical informatics expert judgments. The questionnaire included 4 components that the first component was related to demographic and profile (questions 1–7), the second component was related to Internet access and the use of computers as a teaching tool (questions 8–20), the third component, was related the skills of using computer and the Internet (questions 21–37) and the fourth component, was related to the type of computers, software and Internet using (questions 38–50). The questionnaire was designed in the form of Likert-5 optional into the scale (quite high, high, medium, low, and quite low) and the scoring was set from 1 to 5. To check the reliability, the questionnaires were given to 12 experts and professors of nursing, environmental health engineering, and medical informatics, and content validity of items was confirmed using Waltz and Basel index (content validity index >0.79). Test reliability was calculated through retest with a pilot study on 25 volunteers with performed by using SPSS (Statistical Package Social Science) Version 16 software, with descriptive statistics (frequency, percentage, mean, and standard deviation) and inferential statistics (Chi-square test) at a significance level of P < 0.05.


The majority of students with no considering the sexual difference was from nursing group, 60% with an average age of 22 years, and the average score of 16. Seventy-four percent of students had personal computers and 18% of students used computers of informatics center of the faculty. The students of nursing for passing the practical courses in the hospital, attended by faculty rarely, and the used faculty site. About 74% of the students expressed their skills and literacy of using the computers and the Internet as more than average [Table 1].{Table 1}

The results showed that between the skills students learn and benefit from the computer on which there is a significant correlation (P ≤ 0.01), moreover, a significant statistical relation was between the access and use of the Internet with gender variable (P < 0.05), and it was higher in women, that it may be as a result of the vicinity of girl students' dormitories with informatics center of faculty and overnight Internet access.

More than 72% of the students stated the main factor of increasing their computer knowledge and skills through passing IT courses and knew the inclusion of these courses in masters' curriculum essential. There was a significant difference between the computer skills of 1st-year students, 2nd year, 3rd year, and 4th year (P < 0.05), and the students in the last year of masters had higher computer skills compared to others.

About 98% of students used PowerPoint educational slides more [Table 2], 84% of students stated that they learn the educational materials in the multimedia format (text, audio, image, and films) optimally. No significant difference was found between the understanding of concepts through multimedia and computer skills.{Table 2}

The results showed that the majority of nursing students (70%) and environmental health engineering students (65%) have spent their time for browsing. Environmental health engineering students use the Internet most often (83%) for public websites and 80% of nursing students for downloading audio files and image. The minimal use of specialized web sites and searching for scientific information and news were reported for the environmental health students and the use of e-mail was reported for nursing students [Table 3] and [Table 4].{Table 3}{Table 4}

From the perspective of the students, the most important features of the Internet include reliability of the information (60%), access to the new scientific information (20%), easy access (14.7%), and the speed of access to information (5.3%).

The most important facilitators and inhibitors in the use of multimedia educational software and the Internet as a learning tool are presented in [Table 5], in order of preference.{Table 5}


In the present study, there was a significant difference between the availability and the use of computers and the Internet between the sexes. In the of studies of Kumar et al.,[6] Rajab and Baqain,[16] Komerik [17] and Uribe and Marino [18] the boys used computers and the Internet for public works and learning significantly compared to the girls. However, in the study of Ayatollahi et al. in Yazd, the girls used the Internet more than boys,[19] which is consistent with our study, and the reason is the vicinity of the girls' dormitory and informatics center of the faculty and uses the full-time usage facilities in this center. In this study, (74%) the students reported that they have proper computer skills and they can work with software like PowerPoint, educational software, search for information on the Internet, and check the e-mail. The results indicated a significant relationship between computer skills and the use of computer and benefits with having a personal computer. Arora in his study showed that 93.3% of medical students had skills to use the computers, and 47.8% of the students could use Word, 35% could work with PowerPoint and 89% could use the Internet and the check the E-mail,[20] which is partly consistent with our study. In the study of Movahedmohammadi et al. there was a significant correlation between the Internet usage and the skills, fluency in English and having a personal computer.[21] The skills of last year students were higher than lower semesters students that this difference indicates the greater emphasis of professors on obtaining the necessary skills for technology as an important tool to learn and to achieve fast and convenient information in higher semesters appropriate with curriculum proposals.

In this study, 97% of students used PowerPoint educational slides, as a result of students' access to educational PowerPoint and concerned professor. In the study of Rahman, the majority of students (61.06%) of used PowerPoint.[22] On the contrary, in the study of Sajadi et al., more than 59% of students used the Internet.[14]

In this study, the majority of students (84%) of both majors stated that they learn educational materials optimally if they are provided in multimedia format (text, audio, images, and films). In the study of Forman and Pomerantz (72%) the medical students stated that they learn new educational materials through multimedia optimally, and inconsistency with our study, there was no significant difference between the learning of students through multimedia and computer skills among students.[15] Moreover, the present study showed that the students use educational software less than web-based learning methods. In the study of Lewis et al. regarding the computer-based learning in nursing education, it was found that there was no useful and high-quality educational software in nursing education.[23] In addition, de Gea et al. stated in their study nonuse of multimedia educational software by students as a result of nonachievement to the educational goals through these applications.[24] In most studies regarding the evaluation of educational software in the field of medical sciences, the multimedia educational software was not known as alternatives to conventional education. Rather, they believed that this software can be used as a valuable tool to create learning methods such as critical thinking, problem-solving, clinical evidence and holding a journal club, lectures.[25],[26],[27]

The study indicated that passing IT course impacts increasing the students' computer skills positively, and considering that this subject is provided in the 2nd year of masters, significant differences were found between the computer skills of students in the various entrance years, and the students in higher semesters had great computer skills compared to seniors. The findings of our study are inconsistency with the findings of Rajab and Baqain study [16] and Rahman study,[22] in which 69% of students and 63.6% of students had gained computer skills outside the university during the study and personal experience, respectively, and these findings indicate the emphasize on the necessity of passing the IT course and holding the computer and internet training classes in colleges.

In this study, 60.7% of students reported their high access to computers and the Internet, and in the studies of Kumar et al.[6] 59.9% and in the study of Saeidi et al.,[28] 44.8% reported their access to the computers and 47.6% to the Internet, these rates are lower compared to the study of Maleki et al., in which the students reported their access to computers 92.8% and access to the Internet 93.4. It seems that in this study the students access to the computer and the Internet relatively, and based on the emphasis of professors on research and using computers as a learning tool, several additional facilities should be provided. In this study, the students believed that the most important factors in encouraging the use of multimedia educational software and computers as learning tools include a better understanding of multimedia educational materials, being interested in the use of computers and the Internet, computer and Internet skills, encouraging teachers to use educational software and the Internet, respectively. These findings are consistent with the findings of the de Gea et al. study, in which 10 different reasons were announced to use the educational software from the perspective of students and trainers, these reasons include: (1) Using these applications to learn at different times; (2) Using these applications to learn at different locations; (3) ability to communicate with the teachers; (4) Computer skills; (5) an interest in using the computers and enjoying learning through this software; (6) safe environment for learning; (7) repeating the course arbitrarily; (8) using updated information; (9) existing different ways of learning, and (10) not having enough time to attend classes.[24]

In this study, the majority of the students stated the most important inhibiting factors of using the educational software and the Internet as an important learning tool including: nonaccess to multimedia educational software, lack of the high-quality educational software, nonfamiliarity with databases, lack of sufficient proficiency in English and a lack of Persian training software, respectively. In the study of de Gea et al. the obstacles such as nonfamiliarity with computer knowledge, lack of educational software, and technical support and training as well as losing social relations with the use of educational software were reported.[24]


The results involve the important practical implications for educational planners, and based on the importance that the students consider for learning through the Internet and multimedia educational software, trainers of different training areas should pay more attention to train computer skills to use the Internet and databases, moreover, educational software manufacturers should produce interactive educational and practical applications with high quality using relevant theoretical models and requirements of various academic disciplines. So that the students can easily access the training tool via computer and use the benefits. It is suggested that the researchers investigate the skilled use of educational software, educational websites, weblogs and Internet through interventional studies in various groups of students to identify the barriers to using these tools and to facilitate practical use.


The authors hereby thank and appreciate all students participating in the study.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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