ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGES OF DISTANCE EDUCATION IN HEALTH SCIENCES: INSIGHTS INTO COGNITIVE TEST ANXIETY AND STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE SUPPORT
Despite the increasing significance of distance education, there has been limited research conducted on the cognitive dimension of test anxiety. Our objective was to investigate the development of cognitive test anxiety in the distance learning environment and propose effective approaches for managing and mitigating it, with a specific focus on the cognitive aspect of anxiety. Our research questioned about how health sciences students’ thoughts about distance education and how was their satisfaction? Our study’s hypotheses are; 1. H1: Undergraduate health sciences students receiving distance education have high levels of cognitive test anxiety. 2. H1: Cognitive test anxiety scores differ among undergraduate health sciences students receiving distance education based on various sociodemographic characteristics. 3. H1: Cognitive test anxiety scores differ among undergraduate health sciences students receiving distance education based on various educational conditions. 4. H1: Cognitive test anxiety scores differ among undergraduate health sciences students receiving distance education based on distance education conditions. Participants: Health sciences students (n=410) who were actively attending classes and not in an examination period and agreed to participate in the study. Data were collected from medical faculties, nursing faculties/schools, dentistry faculties, and health sciences faculties/schools. Settings: Data were collected online using the Cognitive Test Anxiety Scale. The methodology was structured using a standard online research checklist. Heterogeneous distributed means were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests. The statistical significance level was set at p˂0.05. Results: The satisfaction rate from online classes was 18.0%. During the process of distance education, 50.2% of the participants were unsure about what was expected of them academically, 83.7% perceived unfair evaluation, and 91.0% felt a lack of practical experience. The rate of participants reporting a decrease in academic performance during distance education was 84.6%. Cognitive Test Anxiety Scale mean was 51.3±17.0, increased among students living with roommates, lacking technological resources, having economic concerns, and expressing dissatisfaction (p<0.05). Conclusion: The findings indicated very low satisfaction with distance education among health sciences students and revealed that almost all students perceived inadequacy in their practical skills. Students had difficulty understanding the educational goals and outcomes, and as a result, a significant majority perceived their academic performance to be low. When planning curricula, it is paramount to embrace a management approach that exemplifies transparency. This approach should prioritize addressing students' academic and physical concerns, enabling us to effectively manage and mitigate cognitive test anxiety.
Steps to reproduce
The research was conducted using a descriptive quantitative research design. This study was carried out between May 1 and July 30, 2021, via email applications through Turkey’s national universities' medical faculties, nursing faculties/schools, dentistry faculties, health sciences faculties/schools (midwifery, nutrition and dietetics, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, emergency medical technician, anesthesia technician departments), and non-governmental organizations (Student Nurses Association [ÖHDER], Turkish Nurses Association Student Committee, Young Dentists Association, Anatolian Midwives Association). Being enrolled in undergraduate health sciences programs at a higher education institution, participating or continuing with distance education practices due to the pandemic, and being willing and voluntary to participate in the research are the inclusion criteria. The required sample size, which represents the population, was determined to be at least 370 individuals with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 0.05, based on the formula for calculating the sample size for known population (over 10,000)