Perceptions of pharmacy students towards online learning during COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi pharmacy colleges have been adopted online learning (e-learning) as a part of student education and fully moved to it during the COVID-19 pandemic, except for some practical courses. One of the items that assess the success of online learning is students’ perception. This study investigates pharmacy students' perception of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia and discovers the major barriers to e-learning. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted using a questionnaire. The study was carried out among pharmacy students in Saudi Arabia in the period between September 2020 and May 2021. A 5-point Likert scale format was used to assess students' level of satisfaction. A total of 2030 students from different pharmacy colleges in Saudi Arabia completed the survey. Of these students, 87.5% praised the effectiveness of online learning. Approximately, 85% were satisfied and encourage e-learning continuation in the future. Barriers facing the students during the e-learning were categorized into access and personal barriers. Among access barriers, technical problems were the most common (59%). Whereas discomfort with online education was the most personal barrier (56.2%). The current study showed positive perceptions among pharmacy students in Saudi Arabia towards online learning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most students were pleased with their experience and encouraged online learning to continue in the future. The most common barriers to online learning were lack of internet access and poor connection as well as the students' discomfort with online education.
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