Online Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Comparing the Perceptions of Domestic and International Occupational Therapy Students

Ted Brown, Luke Robinson, Kate Gledhill, Annette Peart, Mong Lin Yu, Stephen Isbel, Craig Greber, Jamie Etherington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


PURPOSE: To investigate differences between domestic and international occupational therapy students in their perceptions and experiences of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 151 occupational therapy students enrolled in the 4-year Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) courses at the University of Canberra and Monash University in Australia. Students completed the Student Engagement in the e-Learning Environment Scale (SELES) and the Distance Education Learning Environment Scale (DELES). Both instruments have established validity and reliability. ANOVA analysis with bootstrapping was completed to examine potential differences in domestic and international students' experiences and perceptions of online learning. RESULTS: Statistically significant differences were observed between domestic and international students' scores on the DELES Student Autonomy (p=0.001), Personal Relevance (p=0.001) and Student Interaction and Collaboration (p=0.037) subscales. CONCLUSION: International students experienced greater difficulties during online learning in relation to taking control of their own learning, connecting acquired knowledge with real-world settings, and forging collaborative and interactive working relationships with their peers. Academic, technological, and social support measures are recommended to strengthen students' self-directed learning skills, facilitate them to link what they have learned beyond online settings, and encourage active and collaborative engagement with peers and instructors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-129
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Allied Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

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