E-learning team win the prestigious Brandon Hall Award for Pharmacology BSc e-module

The e-learning team in collaboration with the Pharmacology BSc won the prestigious Brandon Hall Silver Award in the “Best Results of a Learning Program” category for their e-learning modules, which are delivered to the Medical and Biomedical Science students opting for the Pharmacology BSc pathway.

The design of the e-learning modules was initiated strategically using the Blended Learning Design Tool (BLEnDT©), which identifies the learning outcomes that lend themselves to interactive self-guided online learning, following an Instructionist approach. The tool also identifies the learning outcomes that are best suited for face-to-face delivery or online delivery following a Constructivist/Collaborative approach.

The animations in the e-learning modules were creatively designed to have a bit of a 3D feel (see screenshots). The lower-order learning objectives (such as recall and list) were covered within e-learning modules, giving face-to-face teaching the scope to focus on the higher-order learning objectives (e.g. critical thinking, evaluation). The impact of this e-module on student engagement has also recently been published (BMC Medical Education (2016) 16:195).

Students’ comments

“because we had already been exposed to it [the receptors] before in the e-course, when we went over it again it was much easier to understand”

“the most efficient approach is to have the eLearning beforehand and then you have a contingency tutorial to check or to ask any questions or to briefly skim over it”

“so often you turn up to a lecture and they jump in so far beyond your knowledge… And you can’t ask effective questions because you don’t know the fundamentals to start with”

Team Members:

  • E-learning – Akram Ameen, Taylor Bennie, Ashish Hemani, Maria Toro-Troconis, Lisa Carrier
  • Pharmacology BSc – Sohag Saleh, Chris John

Contact – elearning.medicine@imperial.ac.uk

Ashish Hemani
eLearning Programme Manager
Faculty Education Office (Medicine)

New Primary Care Education Research web pages

Primary Care Education ResearchThe Department of Primary Care and Public Health has launched a webpage dedicated to Primary Care Education Research. It includes useful resources to support all sorts of education research projects, from articles about methods and theory to practical guides to the process of education research.  It has three main sections:

  1. Recent primary care education publications and presentations
  2. Guidance on the education research process
  3. A bank of resources; articles, PowerPoints, and links to support people in their education research projects

Visit the website

Contact: Dr Graham Easton, Lead for Primary Care Education Research

 

Ben Broglia
Primary Care Education Administrator
Department of Public Health and Primary Care

Game focused on improving antibiotic prescribing launched


Increasing antimicrobial resistance has been identified as a global threat to health. To arrest such threat, a variety of measures have been implemented to improve the quality of antimicrobial prescribing. But whilst increasing prescriber knowledge has proven easier to achieve, maintaining adequate engagement with recommended prescribing behaviours remains harder to accomplish due to psychological and behavioural influences. In other clinical settings, the use of serious electronic games coupled with the application of game mechanics have been successfully employed to resolve similar behavioural challenges, allowing players to experience complicated clinical scenarios and gain technical skills without any negative consequences on patients. In 2013 we proposed to investigate if a serious smartphone prescribing game would be effective in supporting and encouraging the prudent use of antimicrobials in acute care.

In collaboration with a commercial game company, we developed a series of virtual patients that presented signs and symptoms of different infectious pathologies including community- and healthcare-acquired pneumonia, viral and bacterial meningitis, urinary tract infection, influenza, cellulitis and C. difficile colitis, among others. Players gradually receive clinical information for each patient to help them decide the diagnosis and management for the case, and can opt to prescribe oral antibiotics, broad- or narrow-spectrum intravenous (IV) antibiotics, request further tests or discharge the patient without any treatment. Timely and accurate diagnosis and clinical management are rewarded by the scoring algorithm, whilst too conservative or hurried decisions are penalised. Recognising the social interactions that occur during a prescribing decision and the impact of such decisions on different professional groups, we include behavioural nudges offered by professionals, patients and hospital management, depending on each player’s performance.

We used several gamification elements to focus players’ mind on desired antimicrobial prescribing behaviours and to highlight any unintended consequences. The user interface can be personalized and timers and scores, together with increasing case difficulty were introduced to sustain engagement with the game. Immediate feedback after each case and tailored messages informed players about their performance. Delayed consequences of prescribing decisions were explicit for players; for example, using IV antibiotics too frequently results in cannula-site infections which will reappear as follow-up cases, increasing players workload.

The game (which can be downloaded here) from was launched on 6th May to coincide with the international patient safety day promoted by the World Health Organization. The concept and progress were recently presented at the 16th International Conference on Infectious Diseases in Cape Town (South Africa) and the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Barcelona (Spain), attracting much interest as no other research group has developed a similar initiative.

Sustaining appropriate prescribing behaviours remains a challenge for antimicrobial stewardship initiatives worldwide. Serious games delivered on mobile devices can complement the experiential learning of prescribers. Games can be useful to reinforce desired behaviours, elicit the relationships between different professional groups involved in prescribing decision-making, and highlight any unintended consequences of antimicrobial prescribing. Serious games may be an affordable and feasible solution to address the behavioural and social influences on prescribing.

Enrique Castro Sánchez
Academic Research Nurse
National Centre for Infection Prevention and Management