Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Nursing, Iranian Research Center on Healthy Aging, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran

2 Department of Midwifery, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran

3 Noncommunicable Diseases Research Center, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran


BACKGROUND: The COVID‑19 pandemic led to the closure of crowded places such as universities
and replaced face‑to‑face learning with virtual education. The purpose of this qualitative study was
to investigate the challenges of virtual learning from the students’ perspectives.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This qualitative descriptive study was conducted on students of
Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences. Purposeful sampling was performed by semi‑structured
group interviews on the Internet in the WhatsApp social network. Fifty‑two nursing, midwifery,
hygiene, and paramedical students were interviewed. Every interview was started by asking the
question “what is your experience about virtual teaching?” The data were analyzed using MAXQDA
software version 2020. According to the steps of qualitative content analysis, content analysis was
performed and the themes were extracted.
RESULTS: Fifty‑two students were interviewed in eight group sessions. Qualitative data analysis
leads to the extraction of 23 codes, 7 categories, and the 2 main themes; dissatisfaction with virtual
education with 4 categories (lack of feedback, communication channel problems, the unpreparedness
of the message receiver, and weakness in educational content) and solutions to the modification of
virtual teaching with three categories (possibility of receiving feedback, channel improvement, and
strengthening educational content) were extracted. The highest frequency of code was related to
the dissatisfaction with the uploaded contents.
CONCLUSIONS: Virtual education has created a negative experience among students for various
reasons, including the lack of distance learning infrastructure and the lack of a standard for preparing
quality content. Therefore, it is necessary for the officials of the Education Development Center to
supervise the prepared contents and improve distance learning infrastructure.


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