Media Didactics Meets Wearable Computing: The MediWeCo Project

A Media-Based Learning Approach for Teaching and Learning of Motoric Skills Using a Sensor-Based Assistant on the Example of Physiotherapy

An essential and indispensable part of physiotherapy education presents learning of practical and motoric skills. In traditional classroom settings, the knowledge transfer of manual skills is performed through observation and imitation of demonstrated actions and movements. To be able to gain new competences through a complete and successful transfer of knowledge, it is crucial for students to receive immediate and individual feedback during the learning process. Feedback allows for a timely correction of mistakes and optimization of overall competence. Since only a limited amount of time is available to teachers for demonstration and supervision of individual students, this presents a major challenge in traditional classroom settings.

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To cater for the needs of both students and teachers, the Media Didactics Meets Wearable Computing (MediWeCo) project aims to develop novel and targeted teaching methods and learning concepts for occupations in which practical and motoric skills play a significant role. A novel mobile blended learning solution combines digital media with innovative wearable sensor-based feedback for teaching and learning of physiotherapeutic skills, and allows for examination of newly acquired skills. A learning application provides theoretical training on virtual patients using various eLearning approaches. Innovative wearable sensors allow for an assessment of manual performance of individual learners.

The project objective is pursued on four levels:

In the context of blended learning, a learning application is developed for both individual and peer-group mobile and situated learning. Interactive and multicamera learning videos give an optimal view on the movements of demonstrated techniques. Additionally, interactive videos allow for following the decision process during physiotherapy sessions.

As an essential part of the learning application, a digital assistant allows for continuous feedback for the conducted therapeutic technique is developed. Based on the acquired gestures from the Myo device, the digital assistant allows for an independent training of skills to be learned.

By remodeling the physiotherapy course into a blended learning approach, the share of individual learning and self-learning phases can be raised and intensified.

By standardizing the demonstration and creating an objective system for the evaluation of therapeutic procedures with the feedback provided by the digital assistant, the learners are given a tool which supports them in learning in informal learning phases.
The project is conducted in joint partnership by the following partners:
* mHealth Division of the Dept. of Medical Informatics, Uniklink RWTH Aachen
* Audiovisual Mediacenter, Faculty of Medicine, RWTH Aachen University
* School for Physiotherapy, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen

The MediWeCo project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the grant No. 01PD15013.