Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

From little acorns...

Guest posts

Category: Teaching and research

10 January 2020

Sian Shaw from the Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care, blogs about how an innovative teaching project, initially funded by an AL&T Learning & Teaching Project Award, has gone on to win additional funding and two national awards.

We’re delighted to have won our second award for the introduction of digital practice assessment for student nurses in collaboration with MyKnowledgeMap. We received the Gold Learning Technologies Award for ‘Best Learning Technologies Project, Public and Non-Profit Sector’, at a glittering dinner at the Park Plaza Hotel. This follows us winning the e-Assessment Association Award for ‘Best Transformation Project’ earlier in the year.

Our project to improve the support of student nurses in practice was initially funded by an Anglia Learning & Teaching Project Award and subsequently received £450,000 in funding from Health Education England over three years.

We were able to introduce an app-based system, Myprogress, to replace paper practice assessment which enables academics to better monitor and support student nurses in practice. This has contributed to a reduction in the number of our student nurses failing to complete their course from 22% to a predicted 5% for the first year of students who used Myprogress for their entire course. Myprogress works without the need for WiFi access in the clinical area, is GDPR compliant, and allows practice assessors and supervisors to securely sign off student assessment. The digital record improves the ability of academic tutors to track student progress when they are in clinical placement.

A key benefit of using the app-based practice assessment is improved accessibility for students, particularly those with dyslexia. The ability to use features such as speech to text and to prepare documentation in advance has been particularly helpful.

With the Health Service struggling with a shortage of nurses, estimated at 40,000 vacant posts in England alone, the issue of student nurses not completing their studies has never been more pressing. The national average attrition for nursing is 24%. Data obtained by Nursing Standard and the Health Foundation shows that of 16,544 UK nursing students who began three-year degrees due to finish in 2017, 4,027 left their courses early or suspended their studies. This gives an average attrition rate of 24% in the UK. Figures from a Nursing Standard investigation in 2006 put the attrition rate at 24.8%, suggesting that attempts to address the issue over the last decade have had little effect.

We’re supporting other universities in their adoption of Myprogress including speaking at national and international conferences and workshops, and hosting vision visits. We are continuing to work with MyKnowledgemap to develop the app and are particularly excited by a project which is exploring how the Myprogress app can be used to support student nurse wellbeing.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.