Graduation Year

2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

McDermott, Robert R.

Keywords

prefessional preparation, computer-based training, professional development, health promotion, distance learning

Abstract

Using advanced technologies can help increase the availability of educational offerings; however, the steps taken in this direction must be appropriate for the target population and the specific content taught. As such, understanding factors that lead to health educators' intentions and behavior related to computer-mediated instruction for continuing education is an important step in developing and marketing appropriate computer-mediated instruction programs (Hoffman & Novak, 1994). Using the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1988) this study explored the relationships between health educators' perceived behavioral control, attitudes, and subjective norms related to computer-mediated continuing education programs and their intentions to use, and previous experience with, computer-mediated education.

Employing a cross sectional survey design, data were collected from 504 members of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) (40% response rate) using an online survey instrument. Logistic regression was used to investigate the associations between attitudes, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and intention related to using computer-mediated continuing education programs and a proxy measure representing their computer-mediated continuing education behavior. Perceived behavioral control and attitudes were found to have significant associations with computer-mediated continuing education behavior, with intention partially mediating the association with perceived behavioral control and fully mediating the association with attitudes.

When studying a subset of the group composed of respondents with a positive intention toward computer-mediated continuing education programs, respondent characteristics and barriers identified as distinguishing between individuals with positive and negative behaviors included perceived behavioral control, presence of a license or certification, a lack of programs, a lack of relevant topics for programs, and a lack of technical support for programs. These results suggest that for health education and health promotion professionals to engage in computer-mediated continuing education programs, more programs, especially ones that address topics relevant to their current functioning, need to be created and made readily available.

Also, ensuring that appropriate technical support is available to assist participants, and informing potential participants of the availability of this technical assistance, may encourage more health educators and health promotion professionals to follow through on their intentions to participate in computer-mediated programs.

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