Nursing students' perceptions about effective pedagogy: Netnographic analysis

Jennie C. de Gagne, Paula D. Koppel, Hyeyoung K. Park, Allen Cadavero, Eunji Cho, Sharron Rushton, Sandra S. Yamane, Kim Manturuk, Dukyoo Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Effective pedagogy that encourages high standards of excellence and commitment to lifelong learning is essential in health professions education to prepare students for real-life challenges such as health disparities and global health issues. Creative learning and innovative teaching strategies empower students with high-quality, practical, real-world knowledge and meaningful skills to reach their potential as future health care providers. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore health profession students' perceptions of whether their learning experiences were associated with good or bad pedagogy during asynchronous discussion forums. The further objective of the study was to identify how perceptions of the best and worst pedagogical practices reflected the students' values, beliefs, and understanding about factors that made a pedagogy good during their learning history. Methods: A netnographic qualitative design was employed in this study. The data were collected on February 3, 2020 by exporting archived data from multiple sessions of a graduate-level nursing course offered between the fall 2016 and spring 2020 semesters at a large private university in the southeast region of the United States. Each student was a data unit. As an immersive data operation, field notes were taken by all research members. Data management and analysis were performed with NVivo 12. Results: A total of 634 posts were generated by 153 students identified in the dataset. Most of these students were female (88.9%). From the 97 categories identified, four themes emerged: (T) teacher presence built through relationship and communication, (E) environment conducive to affective and cognitive learning, (A) assessment and feedback processes that yield a growth mindset, and (M) mobilization of pedagogy through learner- and community-centeredness. Conclusions: The themes that emerged from our analysis confirm findings from previous studies and provide new insights. Our study highlights the value of technology as a tool for effective pedagogy. A resourceful teacher can use various communication techniques to develop meaningful connections between the learner and teacher. Styles of communication will vary according to the unique expectations and needs of learners with different learning preferences; however, the aim is to fully engage each learner, establish a rapport between and among students, and nurture an environment characterized by freedom of expression in which ideas flow freely. We suggest that future research continue to explore the influence of differing course formats and pedagogical modalities on student learning experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27736
JournalJMIR Medical Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Duke University Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity program for its support of the open access publication of this manuscript. This research was funded by a 2019-2020 Duke Learning Innovation’s Educational Research Grant awarded to JD. The authors thank Donnalee Frega, PhD for editorial assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 JMIR Medical Education.


  • Discussion forums
  • Faculty behaviors
  • Health professions students
  • Learning environment
  • Learning experience
  • Netnography
  • Pedagogy


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