What is the impact of Apps in medical education? A study of CAPSULE, a case-based learning App

BMJ Simul Technol Enhanc Learn. 2020 Sep 24;7(5):293-296. doi: 10.1136/bmjstel-2020-000593. eCollection 2021.


Introduction: Mobile applications (Apps) are popular in medical education; yet, the actual benefits for students are yet to be formally researched. Clinical And Professional Studies Unique Learning Environment (CAPSULE) is an App created by Brighton and Sussex Medical School. The App provides 650 cases offered to students in their final two years of the undergraduate programme. The App performed consistently well in student feedback, and therefore, a study into the educational benefits of the App was constructed.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed following two years of use by students to investigate the relationship between App usage and decile ranking.

Results: The study found that the students who completed more cases tended to score higher per case (p value=0.0037). The study also found a trend between having higher case scores and being part of a stronger decile (p value=0.019).

Conclusions: Greater App usage was linked with performing better in the App itself and this was further associated with being in a stronger decile rank. From a user perspective, the data generated from the App could help with identifying students who are underperforming or help students to recognise areas on which they need to focus.

Keywords: App; Self-Assessment; Smartphone; Student Evaluation; Technology Enhanced Learning.