Friday, 19 July 2013

Activity 9 Success? Failure?!

If you only do one thing…

find out why things go wrong

Examine why projects fail.

I read Tom Cochrane’s 2012 conference paper on failures in mobile learning projects.
The six critical success factors for the mobile web 2.0 implementation with the reviews of the effectiveness of  three mobile learning projects sent me wandering down memory lane
Memory Lane

As tasked, I have provided a brief description for context and then listed the points relating to the “key successes” and “key failures” of the project (as memory permits).


Casting my mind back a few years ago, before smart phone were smart. I was asked to comment of a project which intended to provide nursing students with mobile devices to support reflection-in-action!

The proposal from colleagues was to issue mobile devices to students for use while in their practice placements and ask them to capture reflections in practice. 
This was the era when few students had their own mobile phone and there were public telephone boxes on street corners! 

The rationale was that students are often in placements at some distance from their assessor and the technology could be used to capture the reflections in practice so they were retained for feedback. Anecdotally students reported keeping written reflective diaries but may not do this in the moment but were reflecting at the end of the shift and potentially losing some of the detail and richness. They also did not submit the written reflection until the next meeting which was several weeks apart, so missed the opportunity for rich discussion in timely response.
The devices would primarily capture voice or use sms text messages and would be 'easy' to use. 
Once the student had completed their capture the intention was for them to send it back to their practice assessor (via mobile communication networks) so the reflection could be logged, analysed and feedback provided.
Device support, in the first instance the Telecom provider provided a handbook/ user guide for each device and the project team would provide the hands on introduction, set up account details etc.

Demo Cell Phones

Key failures:

Insurance (Disagreement in who would foot the bill to insure the devices, institution or students?)
Network coverage ( In the remote locations, there was no mobile network coverage).
Call/text packages (Disagreement on who would pay for the call/text packages)
Consent for use in Placement (Some naievity regarding this, it was thought that because there had not been any objection to students making written notes in reflective diaries that the clients would not object to audio recorded notes. Oops!)

Key success:

Colleagues were open to the use of emerging technologies for this purpose
Project approval gained, at this time it was significant as tech had not often been used in this way in nursing practice.
Funding secured, many projects don't get this far so it was a success point for the team.
Devices obtains (if my memory is correct we obtained something similar to the Nokia (Top right of the picture)
Support using the device while in practice was clarified, 
Students recruited

Foot note: if anyone who was involved in this project has clearer recollection of events then please add your comment below....

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