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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 1H - Paper 1

Monitoring and mentoring: Utilising fitness bands and apps for healthcare students to experience self-management of physical activity levels.

Dr Shashivadan Hirani - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London
Dr Lorna Rixon - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London

We utilised fitness bands (monitoring technology) and their associated mobile phone app as a method of enabling healthcare students to experience themselves the tasks they would ask patients to undertake when delivering technology enabled care services, such as telehealth. Using wearable devices was identified as technology enhanced experiential learning.

The session will be of interest to health and social care professionals interested in the use of technology and simulation in education.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn how an existing consumer technology was utilised to enhance the learning of students
  • Discuss the benefits and challenges of introducing technology in an educational project about technology
  • Investigate methods of critically appraising choices of technology in health care services and teaching students how they might achieve this.
  • Extrapolate lessons learned to broader areas in which wearables could be used for education

The development of Technology Enabled Care (TEC) is a significant component of the ‘Modernising the NHS’ strategy.  However, recent systematic reviews (e.g. Brewster et al., 2014) highlighted that a crucial, proximal barrier to the successful delivery of TEC are health care professionals (HCP). In particular, their negative expectations and low acceptability of technology; beliefs that are particularly amenable to educational intervention and identified as important barriers by HCP themselves. Effective training of HCP is strategic to improving outcomes from the utilisation of TEC.

To overcome these barriers, we designed TEC training sessions utilising activity trackers and apps to provide students with opportunities for experiential learning of TEC from a service user and HCP perspective.

Students were each provided with an activity tracker to monitor their self-care activities (i.e. passive monitoring of step-counts; and active monitoring of fluid intake) for 2-weeks. During this period, they used the device and associate app, which provided them with information about their own activity levels and a leader-board to allow themselves to compare their activity with others in the group. Two students took the role of mentors for the group and monitored their caseloads’ activities via the leader-board and provided appropriate self-care feedback via the app forum. This enabled them to experience decisions and prioritisations HCP are required to make when managing a TEC caseload.

On completing the task, students were asked to critically reflect on their roles, report to the class and extrapolate their learning in this simulated scenario to care plans in practise. Through experiencing the monitoring process from the perspective of the service-user/HCP, then reflecting upon the tasks, we believe we provided an effective and fulfilling learning experience to supplement traditional teaching; with tutors able to take students through a range of learning domains from Bloom’s taxonomy.


Armstrong S (2015).  Which app should I use? BMJ;351:h4597.

Brewster L, Mountain G, Wessels B, Kelly C & Hawley M (2014). Factors affecting frontline staff acceptance of telehealth technologies: a mixed-method systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(1), 21–33. doi:10.1111/jan.12196.

Graham CR (2013). Emerging practice and research in blended learning. In Handbook of Distance Education (Third Edition., pp. 333–350). New York, NY: Routledge.

Kolb D (2014). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development (2nd Ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education.

NHS England (2015). Technology Enabled Care Services: Resource for Commissioners. https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/TECS_FinalDraft_0901.pdf Stoyanov SR, Hides L, Kavanagh DJ, Zelenko O, Tjondronegoro D, Mani M (2015). Mobile App Rating Scale: A New Tool for Assessing the Quality of Health Mobile Apps, JMIR Mhealth Uhealth; 3(1):e27.