A semi-quantitative and thematic analysis of medical student attitudes towards M-Learning

J Eval Clin Pract. 2015 Oct;21(5):925-30. doi: 10.1111/jep.12400. Epub 2015 Jul 7.


Rationale, aims and objectives: Smartphone and mobile application technology have in recent years furthered the development of novel learning and assessment resources. 'MBChB Mobile' is a pioneering mobile learning (M-Learning) programme at University of Leeds, United Kingdom and provides all senior medical students with iPhone handsets complete with academic applications, assessment software and a virtual reflective environment. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of MBChB Mobile on student learning.

Methods: Ethical approval was granted to invite fourth and fifth year medical students to participate in a semi-quantitative questionnaire: data were collected anonymously with informed consent and analysed where appropriate using chi-squared test of association. Qualitative data generated through focus group participation were subjected to both content and thematic analysis.

Results: A total of 278 of 519 (53.6%) invited participants responded. Overall, 72.6% of students agreed that MBChB Mobile enhanced their learning experience; however, this was significantly related to overall usage (P < 0.001) and self-reported mobile technology proficiency (P < 0.001). Qualitative data revealed barriers to efficacy including technical software issues, non-transferability to different mobile devices, and perceived patient acceptability.

Conclusions: As one of the largest evaluative and only quantitative study of smartphone-assisted M-Learning in undergraduate medical education, MBChB Mobile suggests that smartphone and application technology enhances students' learning experience. Barriers to implementation may be addressed through the provision of tailored learning resources, along with user-defined support systems, and appropriate means of ensuring acceptability to patients.

Keywords: M-Learning; iPhone; smartphone.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Perception*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smartphone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*