I.A. Costa Mendes, P. Nogueira, S. de Godoy, C.A. Seixas

University of Sao Paulo at Ribeirao Preto, College of Nursing, WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing Research Development (BRAZIL)
Pressure ulcers (PU) are one of the most common complications in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) and the educational aspect has been widely discussed. Teaching patients and family caregivers is an important aspect of PU prevention and treatment. Professionals should use information technologies to attend to the patients and caregivers’ needs.

To develop and construct a virtual learning environment (VLE) for caregivers to SCI patients about the theme “Pressure ulcer prevention”.
Methods: Exploratory-descriptive, cross-sectional survey. For the development of the VLE, we followed the contextualized instructional design steps proposed by Filatro (2007): Conception and planning; Development and Assessment.

We built a VLE compatible with desktop clients and mobile Android technology for hosting and access, via Internet, to the content of the course “Pressure ulcer prevention” for caregivers to SCI patients. The VLE consists of an administrative environment to consult and register contents and a user environment to access the course. The latter consists of hypertexts, animations, videos and images that illustrate the addressed content, besides pages with a questionnaire (quiz and assessment) and exercises. Thus, before accessing the course, the user registers and receives a username and password. Next, the user answers the quiz: questionnaire for knowledge assessment on PU prevention. Then, the user accesses the actual course and again answers the quiz to compare the knowledge pre and post-course, besides a general course assessment questionnaire.
To elaborate the VLE, PHP (Personal Home Page) Internet language was used, as this open-source resource is easy and rapid to handle. To store all data from the course environment, such as: register of caregivers, quiz (questionnaire) answers and recall activities, a database had to be constructed to store all of these data. The database management system MySQL (Structured Query Language) was used, because it is an open-source resource with excellent performance, stability, easy handling and integration with PHP language.
In addition, a component of the open-source interface Jquery Mobile was used, which permitted the adaptation of the VLE for use in mobile devices. This component contains previously elaborated resources for rapid and easy use, each with its own style, besides a set of functions in Javascript language. The creation and organization of the units and course content were done in the administrative environment.

The VLE was assessed by computer experts (three experts) and nurses and faculty members specialized in the theme (nine specialists). The evaluators offered some suggestions to improve the content, which were accepted. In general, the VLE was efficient and permitted the user’s contact with the educational technology.