Identifying dimensions and components of student support system in virtual learning: A scoping review

Sohrabi, Somaye; Ahmady, Soleiman; Khoshgoftar, Zohreh; Toofaninejad, Ehsan; Kalantarion, Masoumeh and Simpson, Ormond (2023). Identifying dimensions and components of student support system in virtual learning: A scoping review. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 12(1), article no. 332.



A student support system (SSS) has a crucial role in the absorption, retention, and success of students in virtual learning. The purpose of this scoping review was to identify and map the available evidence regarding the dimensions and components of the SSS in virtual learning. This study was conducted in accordance with the methodology of the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) for scoping reviews. Our search strategy was based on using search engines, such as MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, WoS, CINAHL, ERIC, PsycINFO, ProQuest, and Google Scholar. The articles were published in renowned medical education journals, including Medical Education, Medical Teacher, and Academic Medicine, and the reference lists of identified and reviewed articles were searched manually. The search results were imported into EndNote X20, and after removing duplicates and screenings, 42 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. A descriptive– analytical approach was employed, including a numerical count of study characteristics (quantitative) and template analysis (qualitative). Five dimensions were identified in the SSS in virtual learning: types of support, domains of support, stages of support, instigating of support, levels of support, and their components and subcomponents. The findings of this study depict a comprehensive roadmap and have an important contribution to the knowledge body of SSS in virtual learning. We suggest system developers, planners, and higher education officials to improve the quality of virtual learning by applying these findings in their planning and decision-making.

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