Research Article: Impact of distance education on academic performance in a pharmaceutical care course

Date Published: April 6, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Agnes Nogueira Gossenheimer, Tamires Bem, Mára Lucia Fernandes Carneiro, Mauro Silveira de Castro, Paula B. Andrade.


The objective of this study was to compare the performance of pharmacy students from a Pharmaceutical Care course, taught in both distance education (DE) and campus-based formats using active methodologies. For two semesters, students (n = 82) taking the course studied half the subject in the distance education format and half in person. Questionnaires were applied at the beginning of the semester aimed to outline the demographic profile of the students. Their grade in the course was evaluated to determine their performance. The Module 1 (Information on Medication) average on the campus-based was 7.1225 and on DE was 7.5519, (p = 0.117). The Module 2 (Pharmaceutical Services) average on the campus-based was 7.1595 and on distance education was 7.7025, (p = 0.027*). There was a difference in learning outcomes in the Pharmaceutical Care Course between face-to-face and distant education. Therefore, the student performance was better in the distance education module, indicating distance education can be satisfactorily used in Pharmacy Programs.

Partial Text

In light of the recent use of virtual modes in health education, few studies that researched whether distance classes show differences in academic performance in relation to the campus-based format, for the same course and conditions were found [1].

Findings regarding student performance when learning via distance or campus-based classes using active methodologies may be influenced by several factors [20]. Most students reported they were satisfied with the Pharmacy Program and that their expectations were consistent, in part, with that discussed in the course. However, most areas of expertise that students intended to follow were different from those addressed in the course, with a quarter of students still undecided. Studies should be developed to evaluate if motivation for a professional area or indecision can influence student performance.

The use of campus-based or distance modes, applying active methodologies, showed differences with respect to the acceptance of students in the Pharmaceutical Care II Course. Student performance was better in DE modules, which may be related to the requirement for greater participation during the semester.




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