From the desk of Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, February 3, 2012

Editor's note: This feature is written by nursing professional development expert Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of professional development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Incorporating apps as a teaching strategy

A few months ago I offered some information about nursing apps, the wonderful programs you can download for your smart phones or tablets. It occurs to me that some of us use apps as a teaching strategy. There are some issues that impact this strategy. Here are some tips to consider when using apps as a teaching strategy.

  • Identify the purpose of the app in relation to learning objectives.
  • If you are going to mandate that learners have access to a particular app, you must determine the cost. If there is a cost related to using the app, who is going to assume the burden of payment? If they don't have access to the app, how will learners achieve learning objectives?
  • How are you going to assess whether learners have access to apps? Will this be a prerequisite to the class? How can you make information available to learners who do not have access to the app? You need to evaluate if access to an app is essential or just nice to have available.

When compiling a list of apps as resource information, include the following information as part of the listings.

  • Explain whether or not the app is free. If there is a cost identify the cost and if there are additional costs to update the app or if updates are free.
  • Be sure to include a disclaimer. Learners will expect that you evaluate the quality of the app. However, you need to include a statement such as "The information regarding cost and quality of information is current as of (insert date). Remember, that cost and quality may change without warning."
  • Evaluate every app you place on a resource list. Never recommend an app without evaluating it.
  • When evaluating an app be sure to assess:
    • Cost of initial download
    • Cost of updates
    • Source of app
    • How current is the information provided by the app

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