Technology in the Pharmacy Learning Environment: Surveys of Use and Misuse

  • Kimberley J. Begley
  • Michael S. Monaghan
  • Cheri W. Clavier
  • Ralph A. Lugo
  • Michael A. Crouch
Keywords: technology, classroom learning environment, pharmacy education


The use of technology in the classroom may have positive and negative effects on learning. The purpose of this investigation was twofold: to identify the effect technology is having on the pharmacy learning environment; and, to assess students' use of technology during class time for non-academic purposes. This study included a national cross-sectional survey as well as a single, college-specific survey. The national survey had a faculty response rate of 71.2%. Of the responders, approximately 61% identified significant problems related to students' use of technology in the pharmacy learning environment. Cell phones were a recognized concern and more than 90% of programs have chosen to restrict cell phone use in the classroom. The single college survey examining technology use during class for non-academic purposes had a student response rate of 87% and faculty response rate of 100%. Students and faculty members disagreed regarding the negative effects of technology use during class for non-academic purposes. Notably, 16% of students acknowledged their in-class use of technology for non-academic purposes had been disruptive to their learning, as compared to 95.7% of faculty. According to students, common reasons for off-task technology use included checking e-mail/text messages (75.1%), lack of engagement (58.1%), multitasking (56.2%), and accessing social media sites (33%). Faculty and students were asked about enforcement of technology policy. More faculty than students supported policy enforcement by faculty (65.2% versus 22.8%, respectively; p<0.001) as well as policy enforcement by students (78.3% versus 31.9%, respectively; p<0.001). Overall, technology use during class for non-academic purposes was common. Many schools and colleges of pharmacy are developing approaches to address these evolving issues by revising their technology use policies.


Type: Original Research


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Received 2016-02-10
Published 2015-01-01