Computers and computer-assisted instruction are being used with increasing frequency in the area of undergraduate paramedic education. Paramedic students' attitudes towards the use of e-learning technology and computer-assisted instruction have received limited attention in the empirical literature to date. The objective of this study was to determine paramedic students' attitudes towards e-learning. A cross-sectional methodology was used in the form of a paper based survey to elicit students' attitudes to e-learning using three standardised scales. Convenience sampling was used to sample a cross-section of paramedic students at five universities during semester 1 of 2009. The scales used were: the Computer Attitude Survey (CAS), the Online Learning Environment Survey (OLES), and the Attitude Toward CAI Semantic Differential Scale (ATCAISDS). There were 339 students who participated. Approximately one half (57.7%) were female and most (76.0%) were under 24 years of age. Moderate results were noted for the CAS general and education subscales. The CAS results were broadly corroborated by the OLES, although a statistically significant difference between participants preferred and actual results on the OLES Computer Usage subscale identified that participants would prefer to use computers less than they actually do. Similarly, the ATCAISDS found participants were largely ambivalent towards computers. As paramedic degree programs continue to emerge and develop, careful consideration should be given to the usability and utility of various e-learning approaches.
- Higher education