The learning program CliniSurf, developed by the Institute for Medical Education (IML), is so popular that lecturers at the University of Tübingen in Germany recommend it to their students. One German student has now developed an app based on it. “I’m very pleased that our website gave Manuel Sigle the impetus to spontaneously develop an app”, says Ulrich Woermann, Head of Group E-learning at the IML.
Cardiac auscultation app
The app contains the 65 heart sounds and heart murmurs from CliniSurf. The ear can only be trained if sounds and murmurs – be they normal or pathological – can be repeatedly listened to and compared. From a learning-didactical perspective, the concern in this regard is with developing pattern recognition. This also applies to images such as x-ray images, blood smears or ECGs. With the app, the learner is able to practice what can and needs to be detected. Moreover, the program provides further explanations. This is where the value in electronic learning programs can be seen: They complement text-based learning materials such as textbooks by offering acoustic and visual examples.
A self-test (quiz) helps users to monitor their success and learning progress, enabling them to check their progress in recognizing heart sounds and murmurs. In this way, future physicians can further develop precision in their findings.
Students are being given less and less opportunity to practice on real patients. The CliniSurf program and the app act as a bridge in this regard: Students can practice with real heart sounds countless times until their accuracy is sufficiently differentiated that heart sounds and heart murmurs can be correctly detected in real patients.
“For young people nowadays, learning with digital media is a matter of course. Therefore, we are increasingly being contacted by medical students who want to develop new learning media”, explains Woermann. “We are happy to support such ideas. Additionally, students in Bern have the possibility to implement the production of learning media as a Master’s thesis and dissertation”.
Anchoring in practice
The app pursues the same didactical goals as the CliniSurf website and reinforces the E-learning concept of the institute. Most of the learning modules of CliniSurf have a central focus on detecting visually or acoustically discernible changes. As such, the emphasis is on the image and/or the sound. To consolidate theoretical knowledge, books and lectures continue to be paramount. The CliniSurf program is freely available and has existed for 15 years. Currently, its design is being reworked.
The cardiac auscultation app is offered on Google Play as a lite version with limited functionality or as a full version (for a fee). The fact that the student Manuel Sigle implemented the app for mobile learning of his own volition demonstrates the status of CliniSurf. Therefore, after careful quality control, the IML has acquired the app. Its further development will be undertaken by Manuel Sigle.