Original Research

‘[M]y own pace and space, without the pressures’: Online learning experiences of audiology students

Liepollo Ntlhakana, Aadilah Alli
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 71, No 1 | a1012 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v71i1.1012 | © 2024 Liepollo Ntlhakana, Aadilah Alli | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 September 2023 | Published: 22 May 2024

About the author(s)

Liepollo Ntlhakana, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Aadilah Alli, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Online learning has been used to improve students’ learning experiences and to allow students to engage with their own learning in various spaces. However, there is a dearth of literature on students’ experiences with online learning in the field of audiology.

Objectives: This study aimed to describe the conditions of online learning, explore the challenges and benefits of online learning and determine strategies that students employ while engaging with online learning.

Method: An exploratory qualitative research design was employed. Audiology students from the second to the fourth year participated in the study. Qualitative data were collected online via MS Teams using a semi-structured interview schedule with the participants. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the participants’ interviews.

Results: Most of our participants were females in their fourth year of study. The students accessed the online learning platforms procured by the university from their homes, with reported benefits such as the flexibility and independence of learning, and time and cost-effectiveness. However, challenges such as limited internet connectivity, issues with time management and inconsistent power supply restricted positive experiences with online learning.

Conclusion: The online learning benefits that were reported by the students and the compensatory strategies they employed facilitated self-regulated learning. The study’s findings highlighted the need for continuous checking-in with students regarding their experiences with the learning approaches intended to improve engagement with their courses. These results could be used as a guide for curriculum planning that is student-focused.

Contribution: Students’ experiences explored in our study provided a guide for online learning approaches that were suitable for audiology students. Student-centred and self-regulated learning practices were highlighted and future studies may further explore these frameworks and theories.


Keywords

online; learning; qualitative; audiology students; experiences; self-regulated; instructors

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

Metrics

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