Analysis of In-service Virtual Training Courses from the Expert Staffs' Perspective of Vice Chancellor for treatment of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (2013)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Complementary Medicine research Center, Mashhad University of medical science

2 Treatment affair of Mashhad University of medical science


Background: In-service education is one of the best and major methods to provide, train and improve the performance of the staffs. This study aims to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the virtual trainings from the staffs' perspective of Mashhad University of medical sciences.
Methods: this is a cross-sectional study conducted among staffs from different parts of the therapy department of Medical sciences of Mashhad University. Questionnaires were used to gather the data. The questionnaire included personal information, assessment of staffs' satisfaction of virtual trainings, contents and materials, professors, services and the facilities of university, whether the trainings are practical and useful, and the quality of virtual training website. The data were analyzed by SPSS (16th version).
Results: there was no statistical significant relationship between the staffs' satisfaction and gender, age, marital status, degree, major of study, computer proficiency and internet access at home. None of the demographic factors were influential on staffs' satisfaction of the virtual trainings. Virtual training practicality had the highest average of the staff's satisfaction and the next one was about the contents and materials.  
Conclusion: from the staff experts' perspective the virtual trainings are practical and provide good contents.



In today complex and dynamic world, learning is highly important that plays a crucial role in the staff improvement (1).

Particular and considerable attention should be given to educate and improve the staffs. Moreover, in-service training takes a leading role in upgrading the organization performance. In-service trainings usually lead to the promotion of existing capacities, facilitation of knowledge acquisition, enhancement of skills and potentials and performance improvement. One of the best and most important ways to train and empower the staffs in organizations and ministries is in-service training.(2)  

The training of the staffs could be highly influential in gaining experiences and increasing the performance of the organization. It could also ensure the survival and integrity of the organization with strategic development (3).

In the third fast-paced millennium, expanding educational opportunities have become the pressing and chief concern of the governments as the nature of market economy and occupation has changed; there are various different educational needs due to the explosion o f sciences and technology. Lifelong learning and education has become a necessity because of rising expectations. Whilst there are limited sources, the population is growing and the demand for flexible learning opportunities increases owning to the fact that the attendees are not able to be present in the courses regularly (4). Although the teaching and learning arena have not changed a lot in comparison with other arenas since two thousand years ago up to present, nowadays this field has enhanced a lot with the help of information technology, the use of technology improves motivation, learning, experience and innovation (5).

Virtual education has conceived a new paradigm that lets anyone learn in any field, anytime and anywhere. The students and professors are not obliged to be in the same place and at the same time. The content of the course are presented for the students through course management software, multimedia resources, internet, and video conference. For individual and group learning activities the students could interact with their professors and classmates through computer(6).

Since the staffs were too occupied and had a whole host of problems to participate in the in-service training courses, the essence of distance education courses became much more apparent. In this study, we have searched for the strengths and weaknesses of virtual training provided for the staffs so that they could be used in the policy-making of the organization.


This is a cross-sectional study. The study population was the expert Staffs of Vice Chancellor for treatment of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences who have worked more than a year in this department. Questionnaires were distributed to 110 eligible staffs. 53 people filled in the questionnaires and returned to the researcher.


A questionnaire of 48 questioned was devised in different parts by the researcher. There were 28 questions in the first part including personal information, assessment of the staffs' satisfaction of virtual training (12 questions about the practicality, 10 questions about the educational contents and materials, 3 questions about the professors, and 3 questions about the services and facilities of the university). 12 questions asked about the quality of the virtual training workshop. All of the questions, except the demographic part, were developed according to Likert measurement scale.  A 5‐point scale developed ranging from strongly agree, agree, neither, disagree, and strongly disagree, respectively. The reliability of the questionnaire was estimated by Cronbach's  (alpha), which demonstrated good reliability in all subjects and the whole questionnaire. Table 1 shows the estimated Cronbach's  in all 5 subjects and in the whole questionnaire.


Table 1:  Cronbach's alpha estimation in all subjects


Cronbach's alpha




The practicality of virtual training



Educational contents and materials






Services and facilities of the university



The quality of the website



Total score



The validity of the questionnaire was determined by experts and managers. The target population completed the questionnaires. The data were analyzed by SPSS 16 and described by average and standard deviation; then quantitative variables was analyzed by t-test exams and ANOVA.


Initially, the demographic Information of the staffs was scrutinized and is presented in the two following tables.

Table 2: Demographic information's of  expert Staffs of Vice Chancellor for treatment Department



Demographic Profile










Under 30 years




Over 30 years




Marital status






















Majoring in computer

Major of study



Not related to computer




Computer skills



3 skills of ICDL



7 skills of ICDL



Less than 6 months

Experience in using the internet



Between 6 months and 2 years



More than 2 years




Internet access at home





In each subject, the average of the numbers is calculated and the overall score of each part is compared with T-test. In all of them the Pvalue is over0/0001, and then the percentage of the total score gained by each subject was estimated. (Table 3)


Table 3: the average in each subject

The mean percentage of total

Mean ( SD)

Total number



45/4(  8/6  )


The practicality of virtual training


36(6/4   )


Educational contents and materials


92/4  (  9)




2/4  (  10/2)


Services and facilities of the university


7/9  (  44/4)


The quality of the website


Total score


The overall satisfaction of the staffs was evaluated. According to the results or T-test and ANOVA, there was no significant association between the staffs' satisfaction and gender, age, marital status, degree, major of study, computer skills and internet access at home(table4). 

Table 4: the association between some variables and staffs' satisfaction of virtual education


P value



Marital status




Major of study


Computer skills


Internet access at home





In California a study was conducted to determine the influencing factors in students' satisfaction of virtual education; and the target population was 43 nurses. The relationship between learners' characteristics, educational variables and students' satisfaction were measured. The results revealed that learners' characteristics and educational variables were influential on students' satisfaction of virtual education. The students' characteristics that had impact on the satisfaction included: previous courses in IT, technology skills, and technology use during courses and the learners' age (6). In another study, the managers and staffs of Tehran University of medical sciences were asked about in-service virtual education. 57 persons (70/3%) of the staffs and 25 persons( %83/3( of the managers believed that the attending classes require be reviewing and changing. Moreover, 74% of the staffs (60 persons) and  % 93/3  of the managers (28 persons) declared that e-learning could solve the in-service trainings' problems. 60 persons (74%) of the staffs and 20 persons of the managers (66/7%) believed that the staffs' computer skills are good enough for virtual trainings (7).

In another study conducted in Tehran University of medical sciences, the staffs' satisfaction of in-service virtual training was assessed. 651 of the staffs filled in the satisfaction                           e-questionnaire which asked about the content, methods of e-learning courses and programs. The highest average was for staffs' satisfaction of the program 3/96 ±0/9 (out of 5) and the least average (3/84± 0/8) of satisfaction was for the contents. There was no association between other variables such as work experience, type of employment and major of study and the staffs' satisfaction. It has concluded that the staffs were to a considerable extent satisfied with e-learning; and since they were not satisfied with the contents, it was necessary to enhance the contents of the courses.(8)

A research was done in Arak University of medical sciences about the influence of in-service trainings on the staffs' job performance. They used questionnaires to collect data. The target population was asked about four subjects including practicality, satisfaction, skill and professional capabilities. There was a significant association (p=0/001) between in-service trainings with practicality, job satisfaction, skills and professional capabilities. There was not any significant association between the average of the mentioned variables and three other variables age( p=0/48), degree (p=0/241), job experience( p=0/218. From the staffs' view the in-service education lead to job enhancement (3).   

The other research was carried out in Mashhad that evaluated the e-learning in Iran's higher education in Mashhad. The results revealed that the professors believe the e-learning have been influential and the students believed e-learning has got mediocre influence. Moreover, the comparison between professors and students' ideas shows that professors had more positive attitude toward e-learning than the students (9).

As presented in table 2, in this study more than 70% of the staffs did not study computer, however, 41% of the participants knew ICDL skills, 48% had worked with internet more than 2 years, and 34% of the staffs had internet access at home. As a result, all of these factors facilitate the virtual trainings.

None of the demographic factors had influence on the staffs' satisfaction of virtual training in this study (table 4). The staffs were very satisfied with the practicality of the virtual courses that gained the highest average. Then the staffs were pleased with the contents and materials, and the least average was for the professors and the web quality. Surly, the last two problems could be easily reduced and solved. To mention the limitations of the study, it should be mentioned that it was a cross-sectional research and there was no control group.  For further researches, it is highly recommended to conduct prospective studies with a controlling group. The other limitation of the study was the low level of response rate about 50%.

From the Expert Staffs' Perspective of Vice Chancellor for treatment department of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, the virtual trainings are practical and have satisfying contents. Moreover, with the assist of experienced professors and the enhancement of the web site quality the virtual training could be upgraded.

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