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What is the impact of Apps in medical education? A study of CAPSULE, a case-based learning App
  1. Jonathan Sadler1,
  2. Juliet Wright2,
  3. Timothy Vincent1,
  4. Thomas Kurka3,
  5. David Howlett4
  1. 1 Department of Medical Education, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK
  2. 2 Department of Undergraduate Education, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK
  3. 3 Respiratory, Eastbourne District General Hospital, Eastbourne, UK
  4. 4 Radiology, Eastbourne District General Hospital, Eastbourne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Jonathan Sadler, Department of Medical Education, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Village Way, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9PH, UK; jonathan.sadler{at}


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.

  • App
  • Self-Assessment
  • Smartphone
  • Student Evaluation
  • Technology Enhanced Learning

Statistics from


  • Twitter Timothy Vincent @tim_vincent.

  • Contributors All five authors made a substantial contribution to this study, work prior to the study and saw the final version before publication. JS conceived and performed the study with guidance from DH and JW. TV and TK helped analyse the results and perform the preliminary research and the final edit. JW helped at all stages with methodological guidance and reviewing the results. DH helped conceive and design CAPSULE and the study and took part in the analysis of the results.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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