The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education

Explaining the Concept and Dimensions of Professional Functions in Online Learning System of Medical Sciences: A Qualitative Content Analysis

Soleiman AHMADY
Noushin KOHAN

The increasing growth of technology affects all aspects of life, including the system of education, and requires the implementation of a new education system. Since Electronic-learning (E-L) is a new and mutated form of education in Iran, its professional functions approach is different from that of traditional education. The present article aims to explain the concept and dimensions of professional functions in this field. Through a qualitative study, method and data source triangulation were used. To do so, the data sources were the professors, scholars, students, and graduates of this educational system in the field of medical sciences. To triangulate the methods, in-depth semi-structured interviews as well as focus groups, note-taking and reminders were used. The purposeful sampling consisted of 10 professors and scholars. Fifteen students and graduates participated in the four-session focus group discussions purposeful, and the sample consisted of 10 professors and scholars as well as seven students and graduates, and a total of 15 students and graduates were willing to participate in the focus group discussions. Inductive content analysis was used for the analysis of data. Three themes arose from the study as follows: E-learning prerequisites, E-Leaning enabling factors, and E-Learning obstacles. Each of the themes is explained along with the relevant categories and subcategories. Discovering the dimensions and elements affecting professional functions in the E-Lsystem of medical sciences, this study provided documented meanings and dimensions of this phenomenon beyond the conventional sense. These dimensions can have direct or indirect impacts on professional functions in this field.

KEYWORDS: Medical professionalism, online education, qualitative research.