An assessment of the readiness of King Fahad Medical City, Saudi Arabia, in adopting effective online staff development programs
Adnan D. Alwadie, Wayne State University, United States
Wayne State University . Awarded
Internet access has grown in Saudi Arabia between 2000 and 2005 by more than 1000% and many governmental organizations are starting to provide part of their services using the internet. In addition, the Ministry of Higher Education has provided funding to all governmental universities to start developing strategies and guidelines for online education. Healthcare services in Saudi Arabia are funded by the government and are provided to all citizens free of charge. In addition, the majority of healthcare workers are expatriates. King Fahad Medical City (KFMC) is a tertiary healthcare organization that provides specialized medical care. To assure quality of medical services at KFMC, medical and administrative employees are provided with continuous staff development programs using traditional methods of education. However, online education is proven to be efficient and provides comparable outcomes to these methods.
The purpose of this research was to investigate the readiness of King Fahad Medical City (KFMC) to adopt online staff development programs. Employees access to technology, technical skills, motivation to e-learn and attitudes towards online education was assessed using The Online Learner Readiness Self-assessment Survey (Appendix D). In addition, instructors’ and administrators’ access to technology, attitudes and beliefs about online education was also investigated using The Faculty and Administrator Survey (Appendix C).
Research participants consisted of 508 employees, 100 administrators and 64 instructors. This study used a survey research approach and data were analyzed using descriptive and correlational design. Data were collected from participants using two (2) validated instruments written in both English and Arabic languages. The findings of this research showed that employees had excellent access to technology at home and at work. In addition, they responded positively to all dimensions of the study. Although administrators’ belief about online education was not positive, their attitude towards providing online education at KFMC was positive. Instructors’ attitude towards online education was also positive. The findings of this research showed that employees are ready to participate in online education. In addition, administrators are expected to support online education practices based on their positive attitude and belief about online education. Instructors’ positive attitude suggests that they are also ready to be part of this new educational paradigm.
Based on the findings from this research, it is recommended that KFMC start working gradually towards designing and implementing blended courses. These courses can eventually be offered totally online after allowing stakeholders to transit from traditional to online forms of education. It is highly recommended that the processes of designing, developing, implementing and evaluating blended education and online instructions be assigned to instructional technology professionals to improve the quality of instructions and ultimately enhance learners’ motivation. It is also recommended that the initial online instructions are offered to administrative staff since they ranked higher in “internet discussion abilities” dimension. Online instructions should be developed by collaboration between the Academic and Training Affairs department, Information Technology department and other departments that are relevant to the subject of the instruction. Finally, KFMC is at the position to take the lead in establishing an Online Education Center that provides effective online learning to other Ministry of Health’s hospitals around Saudi Arabia to improve access to medical and administrative knowledge and competencies.
Alwadie, A.D. An assessment of the readiness of King Fahad Medical City, Saudi Arabia, in adopting effective online staff development programs. Ph.D. thesis, Wayne State University.
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