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The efficacy of microlearning in improving self-care capability: a systematic review of the literature

Wang, C; Bakhet, M; Roberts, D; Gnani, S; El-Osta, A; (2020) The efficacy of microlearning in improving self-care capability: a systematic review of the literature. Public Health , 186 pp. 286-296. 10.1016/j.puhe.2020.07.007. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of microlearning in improving an individual's capability for self-care. STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review of the literature. BACKGROUND: The routine adoption of health seeking self-care behaviours can prevent or delay the appearance of various lifestyle diseases including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Microlearning delivers complex knowledge in fragments or bite-size 'nuggets' of information and has been applied as a novel intervention to improve individual's self-care capabilities. The aim of this research was to systematically review the literature to determine the effectiveness of microlearning in improving individual self-care capability. METHODS: A search was conducted on 15 July 2019 across five electronic bibliographic databases: EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Scopus. Randomised and non-randomised controlled trials, controlled before-after studies and interrupted time series studies, published between 1 January 1990 and 15 July 2019 and looking at individuals of all ages were included in the search. The search strategy included a keyword search and a string of "(modality) AND (learning) AND (micro)", which broadly described microlearning to cover all available articles that have used microformat learning interventions. The search was combined with keywords and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms for self-care to identify studies of interests. Studies were screened by two reviewers independently and reported using a Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) flowchart. Data from included articles were extracted using Cochran Data Collection Form. Risk of bias was assessed using Version 2 of the Cochrane Risk-of-bias or Risk Of Bias In Non-Randomised Studies of Interventions (ROBINS-I). RESULTS: 1310 articles were identified in the initial search. A total of 26 manuscripts were included in the narrative synthesis after title and abstract and full text screening was performed by two reviewers. Outcomes of studies were categorised. A total of 23 studies measured cognitive level self-care capabilities-related changes, and 91% showed statistically significant improvements. Only 11 studies measured actual self-care behaviour changes, from which only 36% showed statistically significant results. From the 26 manuscripts included, 25 articles were evaluated as having moderate-to-high risk of bias. CONCLUSION: Under certain conditions, or when combined with monitoring such as tracking daily medicine intake, microlearning can be effective in improving actual self-care behaviours. Microlearning can also positively influence individuals' cognitive self-care capabilities but was largely ineffective in triggering actual self-care behaviour change. More studies are needed to investigate the effectiveness of microlearning in improving self-care capabilities amongst the general population at scale.

Type: Article
Title: The efficacy of microlearning in improving self-care capability: a systematic review of the literature
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2020.07.007
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2020.07.007
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Microlearning, Public health, Self-care, Systematic review
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Surgical Biotechnology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112289
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