Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)is a disease which affects more than a million patients in America – both children and adults. In children and young adults, in addition to the usual symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pains and stomach ulcers it also adversely affects nutritional and hence, growth. NASPGHAN had prepared a special information booklet for children and adolescents, rich in information on the disease and the treatment options available for them. While the booklet was informative, NASPGHAN realized that it needed to align itself more to the young patients and connect with them to have a perceptible change in their outlook towards the disease.
G-Cube partnered with NASPGHAN to create an interactive course that was simple, profound and informative – that spoke directly to the young audience. NASPGHAN wanted to connect more with their audience, but not by compromising on the depth of information provided. The content was detailed but every detail was necessary for a complete understanding of the disease, its effects and treatment. With that identified as our main objective, we embarked on finding ways to create a course that would include all the necessary details but provide them in a way that is learner-inclusive.
Salient features of the solution
- It was important for us to make our learners comfortable and at ease with their diagnosis. We introduced a ‘buddy’ – Ashley, a 17 year old girl living with IBD. For young patients, peer connect is essential. Ashley is just like any other teenager – vivacious and energetic. She finds instant connect with the audience and they perceive her as ‘one of us’. She affirms that ‘you are an expert on you’ – giving the learner the confidence to face and manage the disease.
- The buddy talks about her condition in simple terms and bears testimony to the fact that it is possible to lead a normal life – beyond the realities of the disease. She is the one introducing all major topics in the course. The accompanying audio maintains a conversational tone, maintaining an informal approach to instruction.
- Keeping the vast nature of the content the course structure was broken down into 12 modules. The introduction section laid down the structure of the course for the learner. In addition to information about the disease, details of tests and treatments, ways of managing the disease, maintaining nutritional needs and vaccinations were also given.
- The way ahead was also charted with the help of transition tips to deal with the disease in adulthood and getting the right psychological support to be strong in the face of the disease. In all, it was a ready reference for the learners that would help them dealing with the disease now as well as going ahead in life.
- Navigation between the modules was made simple and easy. The learner could move ahead in the course or skip a section, if he or she perceived the need. This learner-centric approach encouraged the learner to be responsible for their own learning. Newly diagnosed patients could take the course in entirety while patients who have been living with the condition for some years could skip to relevant parts.
- Images and graphics played an important role in cutting down text-content substantially. The complex working of our digestive system was shown by life-like graphics and various inter activities like pop-ups.
- Interactive and printable resources encouraged the leaner to interact more with the content of the course and find better utility of the information shared. For instance, the ‘Office Visit Form’ was shared with the learners. With the help of animations, each field was highlighted and the learner was shown how to fill the complete form. This form was also made printable for the learner. This helped the learner to be better prepared for the next doctors’ visit when he or she could fill it beforehand and save time and effort. Similarly, a ‘Things-to-do’ form, a ‘Food log’ and a ‘Growth log’ was also shared with the learner to help him or her get involved with dealing with the disease themselves.
- A special section was devoted to dealing with the financial aspect of coping with the disease. This module laid out the types of insurance policies and how they cover the disease. Since the disease would had long-lasting effects well into adulthood and could also necessitate surgery, practical advice and tips to choose the right insurance cover was shared in a simple language – that made sense to the patients as well as their guardians.
- The psychological need of the patients was also not ignored in the course. Real-life scenarios were shared, with experiences of actual patients and their success stories. Practical advice on work-load at home or school was given, along with the right lifestyle choices that would make coping with the disease easy. Meditation and self-relaxation techniques were also shared for the young learners that would help them deal with stress as well as pain that accompany the disease. Sound and practical advice on issues- like smoking and alcohol consumption, which are sure to confront young adults, was also shared in a non-intrusive manner.
- At the end of each module, the learner was given a chance to test their knowledge with the help of a series of tests. Varied types of questions were posed, including True/False, Multiple Choice Questions and so on. A final assessment test was also included at the end of the course, to check the overall understanding of the learner. These tests were scored and helped NASPGHAN understand the impact of the course across the learner group.
- The course was made available free of cost on the NASPGHAN website. The website is often frequented by patients suffering from IBD and the course found a steady audience on the website. Parents and caregivers also frequent this website for the latest medical advances, research and treatment of IBD. They too found the course informative and helpful.
- The progress of every learner through the course was tracked in the course. Popular sections and elements like printable resources were identified. This insight was helpful in creating a better resource pool for the learner. For instance, the ‘Food Journal’ was found to be a popular tool. It was then made available in the resource section of the course and the website – apart from being available on the course.
- Built-in assessments were tracked by our proprietary WiZDOM LMS. In addition to practice questions at the end of each module, a final assessment was presented to the learners and scored. Regular analysis of the number of learners accessing the course and their respective scores gave a clear understanding of how impactful was the course. More and more learners continued to access the course and their success in the final assessment clearly reflected in the success of the course among its intended audience.
- The course also sought to create an update-able database of patients with IBD. An interactive exercise built-in within the course indicated the patients to identify the type of IBD they had. This made a clear demarcation between the two variants of the disease – one that can be treated with clinical medication and the other requiring surgery. This database was indicative of the growth of the disease in terms of its variants and was useful in bringing out the number of patients inflicted with this disease every year.
- The success of the course, as reflected by the ongoing learner assessments, coupled with a growing database of patients became a strong weapon of advocacy for this disease in the corporate and social circles to generate funds. The course was a step – that promised to make way for a greater global awareness of the disease that would help millions of patients of IBD all across the world.