Perceptions vs. Reality of Digital Learning in Undergraduate Bioscience Students

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The COVID-19 pandemic saw digital learning methods become the backbone of teaching and learning throughout the 2020/21 academic year. The rapidly changing context necessitated fresh research on student perceptions and experiences. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 13 Level 3 UG students across our bioscience degree pathways. These students had experienced full academic years of both face-to-face delivery and the Connected Learning model. Probes were centred around the students’ experiences and perspectives of digital learning and whether their perceptions going in had differed from their final experiences. Results reveal initial adaptation difficulties related to perceived technological abilities, a deep unhappiness with the lack of in person social interaction, and a perceived loss of knowledge and employability. This suggests an institutional need to clearly define our responsibilities around providing social experiences to students, clear communication of the expectations of student behaviour and commitment, and staff development focused around facilitating interactive, peer-to-peer learning is a key development priority.


ConferenceQUB Annual Learning And Teaching Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleCED Conference 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • digital learning
  • online learning
  • COVID-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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