Lived experiences of face-to-face learning in nursing students




Gruendemann, Barbara

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Nursing education is undergoing transformation. Historically, face-to-face learning has been the mainstay of student nurse learning, but faculty and nurse shortages are leading to rapid adoption of Web-based online education. In spite of moves to online learning, face-to-face learning continues to persist. This study focused on how nursing students experienced face-to-face learning and why this mode of learning not only survives, but thrives. Online learning, however, was also valued by most of the participants primarily because of flexibility, convenience, and accessibility.

This study was anchored in a hermeneutic phenomenological approach, with Gadamerian concepts, and van Manen's four lifeworlds as frameworks to understand student lived experiences and meanings of face-to-face learning. Face-to-face interviews were conducted. Patterns and themes were extracted from the tape-recorded interviews. A cohort of eight volunteer RN-BS/MS nursing students from one southern U.S. university confirmed that face-to-face learning continues to be valued as a strong methodology in nursing education. Their experiences focused on, for example, humanism, the importance of "presence," physical proximity, classroom as "the real thing," learning through the senses, immediacy of feedback, and learning and knowing by human connections and interaction. Additional research is needed to explicate valuable outcomes of learning in nursing, exploring the relationship of humanism in the classroom versus humanism in patient care. A study of the effect of multi-tasking by nursing students is sorely needed. Blended learning in nursing must continue to be studied. At this point in time, is blended learning a compromise of both online and face-to-face or is it the educational wave of the future? Is blended learning superior, in outcomes, to face-to-face and/or online learning? Also, the particular research of this study needs to be replicated in another part of the country, using similar frameworks.

The findings of this study were a rich source for understanding how students process their learning experiences. "Being present" was the primary essence of face-to-face learning. Raising the consciousness of the importance of face-to-face learning for nurse educators, nurse practitioners, schools of nursing, and healthcare executives was a goal of this research study.



Health and environmental sciences, Education, Face-to-face learning, Nursing students, Educational psychology, Nursing, Health education