Background We evaluated the satisfaction and improvement in learning outcomes of students taking a distance course in Public Health facilitated by the Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Hanoi Medical University and the State University of New York at Albany.
Methods A total of 36 students participated in pre- and post- course surveys online. We developed the Vietnamese E-Learning Student Outcomes Profile (VESOP) to evaluate the impact of distance learning methods on students’ learning outcomes. Factor analysis was applied to construct the measure items into five domains: Academic Skills, Intellectual Abilities, Interactions, Responsibility and Educational Engagement. Multivariate regression models, selected using stepwise approach, determined factors associated with changes in students’ learning outcomes. Student satisfaction with the course was assessed by determining their willingness to participate in and pay for future distance learning courses.
Results The students showed moderate improvement in “Interactions” and large improvements in the other four domains. Factors associated with improvements included previous academic performance, English proficiency, ease of access to the internet and computers, and time spent studying. All students passed the course, all would be willing to take another distance learning course, and 26 students would be willing to pay for such as course with certification.
Conclusions Findings of this study highlight the potential of distance learning as a complementary educational method that could greatly benefit Public Health students. It encourages and supports the development of such training programs for Public Health students in Vietnam.