Impact of an iDevice application on student learning in an occupational therapy kinesiology course

Jason K. Hughes, Pamalyn Kearney


Background: As technology continues to evolve, and information is increasingly accessed through smartphones and tablets, it is essential for university faculty to reassess teaching methodologies. This study explored how use of an iDevice application (app) by participants enrolled in an entry-level occupational therapy kinesiology course affected student learning in the course. This iDevice app was developed through a collaboration between the lead author and the Department of Technology Enhanced Learning and Innovation at Augusta University.
Methods: The iDevice app was released to the public via the Apple® App Store at the midpoint of the kinesiology course. All students were invited to use the app. Focus groups were conducted with 19 students recruited from the first year cohort of occupational therapy graduate students. These focus groups were conducted at the end of the semester once grades had been submitted.
Results: Thematic analysis of focus group transcripts revealed three themes reflecting how participants perceived app use impacting their learning. Participants report the app facilitated learning through provision of visual content, serving as a reliable source of information, and generally supporting the learning process. The Kinesiology Pro Consult App provided on demand learning, allowing students to be more autonomous with their learning and take advantage of opportunities to learn anywhere and anytime. Finally, participants reported the app allowed them to be more efficient in their learning, possibly allowing more time for other courses.
Conclusions: Mobile device apps that support student learning in specific content areas may provide positive benefits to student learning both in the specific course related to the app but also in other courses as a result of increased efficiency in learning.