Last week we visited the Nursing and Midwifery School at Staffordshire University to road-test our mobile e-learning ideas and technologies. We introduced Destiny MOOC e-learning courses designed specifically for mobile to students to expand their learning opportunities and encourage interaction with online courses via mobile.
As introduced in a previous blog post, the European Union-funded Erasmus+ Destiny project is an EU-wide MOOC platform, of which Bitjam is a partner. MOOCs – or Massive Open Online Courses – offer a novel way to provide everyone and anyone access to online education. The Destiny MOOC learning management system is based on the popular Moodle with a key focus on mobile accessibility. In case you missed it, Moodle is a learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalised learning environments.
The students who took part in the user testing were very positive about the idea around compact mobile learning experiences. One student reflected “This means I can learn while I’m on the train, neat!!”
Bitjam partnered with Erasmus+ on the Destiny Project as it provided an opportunity to integrate healthcare and education resources to expand the use of technology in the public sector. E-learning courses made purely for mobile are shaping the future of education as they’re easy to use, accessible to all and provide tools for learning that can be carried around in pockets and used on the go. Destiny is particularly useful for health and social care learning as it’s also a noticeboard for news and updates, such as details about local relevant study clubs.
Bitjam’s role has ranged from gathering and analysing MOOC data, developing the web platform and recently developing the Mobile friendly learning management system. Creating a platform that is easy to navigate and creates a strong UX has been crucial to the success of this project.
The NHS is currently undertaking a £40 million three-year programme to bring the “Internet of Things” into healthcare. Focusing on simple yet effective solutions that can be easily adopted by the masses, digital health is set to revolutionise healthcare services for both patients and providers. “Older patients and people with long term conditions and mental health problems will be among the first to benefit from a major new drive to modernise how the NHS delivers care” – NHS England January 2016.
Here are 3 examples of existing solutions where we can learn about the benefits and potential challenges faced when scaling up these solutions.
Electronic Prescription Service
The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) allows prescriptions to be sent direct to pharmacies through IT systems used in GP surgeries. Eventually EPS will remove the need for most paper prescriptions.
- Patients can collect repeat prescriptions directly from a pharmacy without visiting a GP
- paper prescriptions will become obsolete so can’t be misplaced
- Patients will spend less time waiting in the pharmacy
- The service is reliable, secure and confidential
- It could cause confusion as the patient isn’t given a physical prescription. In many cases the carer and patient use the paper version to easily manage medications in the home
- Less digitally able patients could find the process more stressful as they may perceive less control in the process of ordering medication
- Any issues resulting in prescription details being incorrect or not sent to the pharmacy could result in wasted trips for the patient. This could be the result of human error in the system
Appointment booking software
Patients are now able to access their medical records, book appointments and order repeat prescriptions from their electronic devices with apps such as Patient Access.
- Allows patients to access local practice services online
- Reduces the need to make phone calls to the surgery
- Repeat prescriptions can also be booked online using the same system
- Convincing patients that the service is safe is a challenge for service providers
- Not all current web services have good enough design for a good user-experience
- There are still a number of users (healthcare providers and patients) who might not have access to a computer or lack the knowledge to use the service
- Some online appointment booking services require large browsers rather than mobile or browsers on tablets
Wearable Technology for Diabetes Patients
K’Track Glucose from PKvitality is the first wearable tracker that allows diabetics to self-monitor their glucose levels without the need for cumbersome and painful blood-based tests. This sort of technology gives patients control over their condition and allows for more discreet management.
Although diabetes affects 1 in 11 people in the world, it’s reported that 80% of people on treatment do not monitor their blood sugar often enough. The K’Track Glucose is a solution designed to tackle the reasons why patients might be neglecting their health. The wearable fits in with a more modern patient routine. It’s simple to use, discreet, sports-friendly, painless and allows for easy monitoring on the go.
- Replace the current method of pen-like prick tests which are easy to forget and don’t provide newly-diagnosed patients with much information
- Wrist-band devices are less invasive than needles
- The device links easily to the patient’s smartphone so they can monitor and keep a record of their blood sugar levels
- Still in the testing stage so reliability is yet to be measured
- Inconsistent adoption of technologies from the healthcare providers. Many IoT and wearable tech produce personalised data that could prove useful in managing health however this data is rarely used in consultations.
All three of these examples demonstrate the significantly positive effect that such simple solutions can have on providing patient empowerment. The impact of patient confidence over time far outweighs the initial launch costs. Such solutions should ease the pressure on healthcare resources anyway (less hospital visits required, less time spent on unnecessary phone calls etc) which will also reduce costs. The challenge lies in changing up the current structure and format to provide ability to scale up the service, provide training and ongoing support.
Bitjam are currently working with healthcare and education providers researching and exploring ways in which technology can be deployed at scale.
In our last Logga post we gave a quick rundown on the new features that we’ve built into our 2.0 release.; full customisation options, an online push messenger for teachers and progress visualisations on the dashboard. Over the next couple of blog posts we want to highlight the variety of features Logga incorporates and explain how it can help to transform the way education is delivered across a range of institutions.
The digital transformation of public services is becoming an increasingly important topic of debate and key to that process is collaborating with both providers and end service users to develop the technology necessary. Recently, The Government’s Strategy to Support Workforce Excellence in Further Education, published in July 2014, asked the question how to effectively develop modern technologies and integrate them into education settings as a way to support teaching delivery.
In 2015, we developed Logga in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College. We worked closely with cohort of their students to understand, from their perspective, what features they would find most useful in an educational app. Chief amongst their needs was a way for them to view messages, upcoming tasks and overall attainment at a glance. We decided that using a dashboard hub, which can be updated regularly, was the solution to the problem.
Feature #1 Dashboard
Our intention when developing the dashboard was to create a space where learners can be presented with clear visual information which displays their current performance. The same information allows teachers to focus on the areas that the learner needs to improve upon and this shared focus strengthens the communication between the two. Dashboard pushes students to take more responsibility for their own learning by encouraging independent target meeting.
At a Glance
Overall, the strength of the feature is the ability to consolidate many streams of data and present them to the user in an “at a glance” manner. The concept of dashboard is not new and many successful social media apps use such a feature to show users who’s got in contact with them or how many unread messages they have in their inbox. So we’ve used this concept to integrate our data dashboard with a feature that learners will be accustomed to.
Through it’s initial tests and subsequent release, Logga has helped to narrow the achievement gap between learners improving overall retention through features like dashboard. Giving students a summarised glance at tasks they need to complete, the results of their last mock exam or when their next class will be, has helped them schedule their time at college and gives them a better learning experience.