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A Study on the Awareness and Need for Connected-Convergence Education among College Students in Health-Related Fields
J Dent Hyg Sci 2022;22:233-40
Published online December 31, 2022;  https://doi.org/10.17135/jdhs.2022.22.4.233
© 2022 Korean Society of Dental Hygiene Science.

Su-Hyeon Hong , Seung-Yeon Shin , Na-Hee Lee , Jin-A Lee , Seon-Im Cheon , and Seol-Hee Kim

Department of Dental Hygiene, Konyang University, Daejeon 35365, Korea
Correspondence to: Seol-Hee Kim, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1996-1306
Department of Dental Hygiene, Konyang University, 158, Gwanjeodong-ro, Seo-gu, Daejeon 35365, Korea
Tel: +82-42-600-8449 , Fax: +82--42-600-8408, E-mail: ableksh@konyang.ac.kr
Received November 10, 2022; Revised December 1, 2022; Accepted December 8, 2022.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract
Background: In modern society, rapid changes in the medical environment have required medical staff to access various information and be competent in active and effective problem-solving through collegial interactions. In line with these changes, universities are aiming to connect education. This study aimed to provide basic data of connected-convergence education by survey the awareness and needs of college students in health-related fields.
Methods: This study included 122 college students from the health field. A survey regarding “the awareness and need of connected-convergence education” was conducted and general characteristics of the participants were collected from June to July 2022.
Results: The awareness of connected-convergence education was low at 19.7%, but the intention to participate was high at 74.6%. Subject requirements were 18.0% for medical psychology, 13.5% for communication and counseling, 13.5% for medical artificial intelligence technology convergence, and 10.4% for sports health management. In the group showing high satisfaction with the major curriculum, the demand for connected education was also high. For efficient operation, it was investigated that it was necessary to secure specialized training courses, recognition of liberal arts credits, the right to register for courses equal to those of major students, and secure dedicated classrooms.
Conclusion: Although the awareness and experience of connected-convergence education among the participants were low, the intention to participate was high. As such a plan to revitalize the university curriculum was required. It is timely to discuss the nurturing of convergence-type talents and multidisciplinary thinking skills. It is meaningful to provide basic data necessary for connected-convergence education in health-related fields at university. Universities should strive to enhance job competency in the health field by providing connected-convergence education based on student demands.
Keywords : Education, Health, Needs assessment, Special education
Introduction

1. Background

In modern society, the elderly population, single-person households, and patients with chronic diseases are increasing. People have increased interests in healthcare, disease treatment, and well-being for the improvement of their quality of life. To manage one patient, integrated management of oral, systemic, and mental disorders is required. Public health personnel should manage patients with consideration for patient characteristics. Importantly, knowledge in other disciplines, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills are required1). Furthermore, rapid changes in the medical environment, such as the fourth industrial revolution, have resulted in many innovations, such as the use of big data and medical digitization.

Today’s medical staff must be skilled in accessing various information and be competent in active and effective problem-solving through collegial interaction2). In line with these needs, universities are aiming to provide education that enhances thinking skills in connection with other majors to nurture competitive talents3). The purpose of connected-connected learning is to improve thinking abilities and problem-solving skills among students to address various problems. Hence, the trend of connected education is spreading4,5).

Connected-convergence education can enhance the cooperative problem-solving ability of learners to address problems experienced in the medical field4). In particular, health students need the ability to think about medical issues from various perspectives and manage patients comprehensively. In the future, integrated management capabilities involving different aspects of health including oral health, psychological health, and social health will become increasingly critical. Therefore, connected-convergence education is needed to improve patient management competency among health students6).

In engineering education, such connected-convergence education is expanding. Conversely, in health-related education, the focus is still on single major learning due to national exams for license acquisition. Although some universities are trying to provide interdisciplinary education linking medicine, nursing, and social welfare, the efforts to date have been insufficient7). Research on connected-convergence education related to dental hygiene is also insufficient. In the era of super-aging, connected-convergence thinking is needed to care for the elderly who experience systemic diseases, loss of economic power, and psychological changes. Overall, connected-convergence education is insufficient and it is difficult to evaluate its effect on the performance and operation method of each university8).

2. Objectives

This study aimed to provide basic data necessary for health-related connected-convergence education by examining the awareness and needs of college students in health-related fields.

Materials and Methods

1. Ethics statement

This study was approved for review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Konyang University according to IRB regulations (NO. KYU-2022-04-24).

2. Study design

The study was conducted between June to July 2022. The study’s objectives and ethical considerations were explained to the candidates and consent for participation was obtained. The research recruitment notice was uploaded to K University’s online bulletin board and departmental bulletin board. The online survey was conducted using a QR code. The study population consisted of students in health programs including nursing, dental hygiene, physical therapy, occupational therapy, clinical pathology, optical optics, emergency rescue, radiology, and hospital management. Non-health students or those who refused to participate were excluded from the study.

3. Sample size

The sample size was calculated using G-power program ver. 3.1.9.2. Convergence education awareness, demand, and general characteristic variables were reflected in the calculation. The calculation confirmed that 121 participants were required for each group. Accordingly, the study was conducted with 122 participants.

4. Intervention

The survey consisted of 26 questions, including 7 questions on the awareness of connected-convergence education, 13 questions on the requirement for connected-convergence education, and 6 questions on general characteristics (department, grade, sex, age, practice experience, and credits).

Recognition and demand items were measured on a 5-point Likert scale. As for the research tool, the research contents of Baek9) were modified for the purpose of this study. The selected courses were among the universities’ selections for innovation projects. The homepage data of 28 universities that are implementing convergence education were investigated.

5. Statistical analyses

Participants’ general characteristics and their awareness, and need for connected-convergence education were analyzed with descriptive statistics. Variables, such as “needs for connected-convergence education” and “satisfaction with the curriculum” were analyzed using the chi-square test (nonparametric analysis). The statistical significance level was set to 0.05. Analyses were performed using PASW Statistics, version 18.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA).

Results

1. Participants’ general characteristics

Of the 122 participants, 17.2% were male and 82.8% were female. Students in the second year of university accounted for 32.8%. Moreover, 47.5% had on-the-job experiences. Students in nursing accounted for 23.8%, dental hygiene 18.8%, and clinical pathology 15.6%. Regarding the grade point average (GPA), 42.6% of students had a GPA of 3.5∼3.9. As for the students’ awareness of connected-convergence education, 19.7% knew and 80.3% did not know. A total of 96.8% of participants had no educational experience outside of their major (Table 1).

General Characteristics of the Participants

Division Value
Sex Male 21 (17.2)
Female 101 (82.8)
Age (y) 20∼22 81 (66.4)
≥23 41 (33.6)
Grade 1 18 (14.7)
2 40 (32.8)
3 36 (29.5)
4 28 (23.0)
Department Nursing 29 (23.8)
Dental hygiene 23 (18.8)
Physical/occupational therapy 15 (12.3)
Clinical pathology 19 (15.6)
Emergency rescue 15 (12.3)
Hospital management 10 (8.2)
Radiology/optics 11 (9.0)
Clinical practice Yes 58 (47.5)
No 64 (52.5)
Awareness Yes 24 (19.7)
No 98 (80.3)
Grade point average 2.5∼2.9 7 (5.7)
3.0∼3.4 37 (30.4)
3.5∼3.9 52 (42.6)
≥4.0 26 (21.3)
Education experience Teaching 1 (0.8)
Connected major 2 (1.6)
Convergence major 0 (0)
Double major 1 (0.8)
Not applicable 119 (96.8)

Values are presented as number (%).



2. Intention to participate inconnected-convergence education

Table 2 shows that 74.6% of students wanted to participate in interdisciplinary and connected-convergence education. Of the students who wished to complete linked and convergence education, most requested medical psychology (18.0%). This was followed by students in communication and counseling, medical artificial intelligence (AI) technology convergence (13.5%), sports health management (10.4%), medical industry including medical device licensing, etc. (7.2%), and aged care (6.9%) (Table 3). Regarding the subjects from other departments that students wish to study, exercise rehabilitation ranked the highest at psychiatry (35.3%), first aid (34.1%), exercise rehabilitation (33.5%), hospital service (29.5%) and documentation (20.8%) (Table 4).

Students’ Intentionto Participate in Connected-Convergence Education

Willingness to participate Value
Yes 91 (74.6)
No 31 (25.4)

Values are presented as number (%).


Students’ Desired Subjectsto Study through Connected- Convergence Education

Subject Value
Medical psychology 57 (18.0)
Communication consultation 43 (13.5)
Medical AI technology convergence 43 (13.5)
Sports health management 33 (10.4)
Health social welfare 23 (7.2)
Medical industry 23 (7.2)
Elderly health care 22 (6.9)
Public health insurance 18 (5.7)
Well-dying 14 (4.4)
Beauty health care 14 (4.4)
Health convergence science 14 (4.4)
Public health IT convergence 8 (2.5)
Well-aging 6 (1.9)

Values are presented as number (%).

AI:artificial intelligence.


Elective Subjects in Other Departments

Subject Value
Geriatric nursing 37 (17.7)
Swallowing rehabilitation 29 (13.9)
Understanding people with disabilities 27 (12.9)
Child development 46 (22.0)
Exercise rehabilitation 70 (33.5)
hospital marketing 29 (15.1)
Hospital financial management 22 (11.5)
Hospital computer practice 31 (16.2)
Create a document 40 (20.8)
Department of Medical Tourism 25 (13.0)
Health administration 45 (23.4)
Medical information management 51 (26.4)
Hospital management 34 (17.6)
Psychiatry 73 (35.3)
Rehabilitation psychology 43 (20.8)
Cognitive rehabilitation 20 (9.7)
Clinical decision making 26 (12.5)
Communication 45 (21.7)
Medical ethics 29 (10.7)
First aid 92 (34.1)
Infection control 55 (20.4)
Immunology 30 (11.1)
Disease prevention 47 (17.4)
Biomechanics 17 (6.3)
Big data medical statistics 37 (19.2)
Management for Medical device 14 (7.3)

Values are presented as number (%).



3. The need for connected-convergenceeducation and satisfaction with the curriculum

As a result of analyzing the “needs for connected-convergence education” and “satisfaction with the current curriculum” in 3 groups (satisfied, average, and dissatisfied), the group with the highest satisfaction for the current curriculum showed a high demand for connected-convergence education at 69.7% (p<0.05) (Table 5).

The Need for Connected-Convergence Education and Satisfaction with the Curriculum

Division Needs to connected-convergence

High Moderate Low p-value
Major Satisfaction High 53 (69.7) 16 (21.1) 7 (9.2) .001
Moderate 18 (75.0) 4 (16.7) 2 (8.3)
Low 4 (18.2) 4 (18.2) 14 (63.6)

Values are presented as number (%).

p<0.01 by c2.



4. Operational strategies to facilitate connected-convergence education

The need for specialized education to facilitate connected-convergence education operationally was as high as 30.3%. As for the completion system, the need to recognize liberal arts credits was high at 38.5%. As for the operation method, 50.8% of students had the same right to apply for courses equivalent to their major. Regarding the plan to expand operation, securing a dedicated lecture room was the most important factor at 25.4%. Participation in the second year was the highest at 59.0%. The number of subjects completed was 60.7% for 2 subjects, and 38.5% for 2 credits As for the educational method, 60.3% preferred face-to-face lectures and 56.6% preferred lectures+practical classes (Table 6).

Operational Strategies to Facilitate Connected-Convergence Education

Division Value
Directions Expansion of course 35 (28.7)
Specialized of convergence education 37 (30.3)
Lectures by level 27 (22.1)
Expansion of basic education 23 (18.9)
Operational methods Consistency of curriculum 26 (21.3)
Consistency of lecture time 34 (27.9)
Course selecting standards 62 (50.8)
Participation grade 1 grade 34 (27.9)
2 grade 72 (59.0)
3 grade 15 (12.3)
4 grade 1 (0.8)
Number of subjects 1 20 (16.4)
2 74 (60.7)
3 20 (16.4)
4 6 (4.9)
5 2 (1.6)
Teaching methods Face-to-face lectures at university 74 (60.6)
Face-to-face lectures with other universities 14 (11.4)
Online lectures during and outside university 34 (27.9)
Operational System Increase of available credits 30 (24.6)
Apply major credit 45 (36.9)
Apply liberal arts credit 47 (38.5)
Expansion of education Exclusive for lecture room 31 (25.4)
Expansion of information sharing 29 (23.8)
Scholarship assistance 27 (22.1)
Desired credit 1 credit 5 (4.1)
2 credit 47 (38.5)
3 credit 23 (18.9)
4 credit 27 (22.1)
5 credit 8 (6.6)
6 credit 10 (8.2)
7 credit 2 (1.6)
Instructional preferences lecture 39 (32.0)
Problem-focused learning class 7 (5.7)
Discussion class 7 (5.7)
Lecture+practice class 69 (56.6)

Values are presented as number (%).


Discussion

1. Key results

In this study, students with low and high awareness of connected-convergence education both recognized the need for further expansion of connected-convergence education. In particular, there was a demand for subjects, such as medical psychology, communication counseling, and medical AI technology. Notably, the students’ need for connected-convergence education was higher. Among the connected-convergence education subjects provided by other universities, students wanted to study exercise rehabilitation, psychiatry, hospital service, documentation, and first aid. There was no significant difference between departments, such as dental hygiene, in the desired subjects for connected-convergence education. A mutual convergence approach between subjects from different departments may be necessary to strengthen major competencies in addition to major subjects. The need for connected-convergence education among college students for future career readiness is growing. At a time when there are not many studies on health-related or connected-convergence education, this study may contribute significantly to the field. The findings from this study suggest that there is the demand for connected-convergence education and that a plan should be developed to facilitate its implementation.

2. Results interpretation and comparison with previous studies

Students’ awareness of connected-convergence education was low at 19.7%. Conversely, the intention to participate was high at 74.6%. Jeon10) reported that the student educational experience was 15.4%, cognition was 22.1%, and necessity was 85.5%. These results were similar to the findings of this study. Since the university’s connected-convergence education is insufficient, it is necessary to establish the concept and purpose of connected-convergence education suitable for the characteristics of the university by analyzing the perception and situation with the aim of implementation. connected-convergence education in college should aim to create new knowledge, skills and values in combination with existing learning11). Some universities are implementing education in collaboration with industries through innovation and prime projects. For example, the University Innovation Project and PRIME projects within Korea’s educational advancement project for the internalization of human resources needed by society12).

However, connected-convergence education does not apply to all students. To date, limited college-centered engineering connected education has been implemented, therefore, improvement is needed13). The preferred subjects for inclusion in connected-convergence convergence education were identified by the participants as medical psychology, communication counseling, and AI technology in medical science. Of note, college students’ course selection is affected by employment standards. Realistically, it is useful to align careers with demands and aptitude and interest14). In an aging society, the number of people who need complex services in various fields, such as health, medical care, and welfare, is increasing. For this reason, it is necessary to solve problems through the cooperation of experts in various professions and interpro-fessional collaborations should start at the university15).

For the operation of connected-converged education, specialized connected-convergence education is required. In particular, the recognition of liberal arts credits is viewed as necessary by the participants. The operation method is to secure the right to apply for the same course as the major. Moreover, securing a dedicated classroom was also considered important. Other proposed operational details included participation from the second year of university, include 2 connected-convergence courses, and 2 credits per course. According to Anh and Lee’s study16), ‘establishment and operation of a dedicated organization’ and ‘dedicated lecture room and practice room’ were identified as factors of top priority, while ‘curriculum specialization’, ‘scholarship support for related majors’, ‘promotion of related majors’, ‘dedicated teaching assistant assignment’ were considered secondary factors. Based on these results, a revitalization plan was proposed for prioritizing the educational need for university-linked majors.

3. Limitations

This study is limited by its sample population of only K-University students. Hence, the generalization of the results may not be applicable. In future research studies, the research target should be expanded. A proposed university education plan to enhance competency is also necessary. This may be developed using a survey that examines the necessity of connected-convergence education in the medical field. To increase students’ awareness of connected-convergence education and promote connected-convergence education in the health and medical field, more research should be done in the future, especially research that considers the characteristics of each department and different universities.

4. Generalizability

The awareness of connected-convergence education was low at 19.7%. Conversely, the intention to participate was high at 74.6%. In the group with high satisfaction for the major curriculum, the demand for connected-convergence education was also high. For efficient operation, it is necessary to secure specialized training courses, enhance recognition of liberal arts credits, ensure the right to register for courses equal to those of major students, and secure dedicated classrooms. To adapt to rapid changes in the medical environment and manage patients in various cases, medical personnel are required to effectively perform tasks through convergence patient management in collaboration with colleagues.

5. Suggestions

Students who were satisfied with the current curriculum expressed a high demand for connected-convergence education. This may be related to high-achieving students’ innate desire for learning and education. Moreover, universities must identify the needs of the students and support their education. In college education, it is necessary to establish a curriculum feedback system that reflects the needs of learners as well as the needs of society. This may be achieved via competency-based education and the establishment of a university education quality management system that emphasizes accountability for education17). Some studies suggest that a new convergence area may be established in the curriculum or four connected-convergence subjects bundled together to form a convergence module and offered as an independent curriculum18). College students’ course selection is affected by employment standards. Realistically, it is useful to align jobs with demands and aptitude and interest14). Currently, universities are faced with the need to enhance the quality of higher education. This may be achieved by improving creativity convergence competency and creating new values based on creativity and convergence19). Universities should strive to enhance job competency in the health field by offering connected-convergence education based on student demand. In dental hygiene education, for example, it is time to implement connected-convergence education to enhance students’ convergence thinking abilities.

Conflict of Interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Konyang University (IRB No. KYU-2022-04-24).

Author contributions

Conceptualization: Su-Hyeon Hong, Seung-Yeon Shin, Na-Hee Lee, Jin-A Lee, Seon-Im Cheon, and Seol-Hee Kim. Data acquisition: Su-Hyeon Hong, Seung-Yeon Shin, Na-Hee Lee, Jin-A Lee, Seon-Im Cheon, and Seol-Hee Kim. Formal analysis: Su-Hyeon Hong and Seon-Im Cheon. Supervision: Su-Hyeon Hong and Seol-Hee Kim. Writing–original draft: Seung-Yeon Shin, Na-Hee Lee, and Jin-A Lee. Writing–review & editing: Su-Hyeon Hong, Seung-Yeon Shin, Na-Hee Lee, Jin-A Lee, Seon-Im Cheon, and Seol-Hee Kim.

Data availability

Raw data is provided at the request of the corresponding author for reasonable reason.

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