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Best Practice

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Document Typology: Training course
Target groups: Health Workers,Caregivers
country Where It Took Place: Romania
Name of compiler: Constantin Musteata
name of institution: CECMA
role: Researcher/Trainer
language Of The Description: English
title: COACH BOT- Modular E-Course With Virtual Coach Tool Support
description Of The Best Practice:
The COACH BOT project aimed at designing and testing an innovative e-learning methodology for adult education that combines the Conversational Agent Technology (chatterbot or chatbot) with an ad hoc designed modular learning path.

Therefore, the project methodology combined a duly designed modular e-learning path according to the adult workers’ needs with a human-computer interface (chatbot) to enhance the e-learning effectiveness.

It developed a collaborative e-learning environment that allows users to communicate and interact with a chatbot, called “Virtual Coach”, through a human-like interface.

Pilot e-courses were designed and delivered addressing to home health care professionals, such as medical staff, nurses, care workers and doctors, who constituted the project’s direct target group.

The main innovation of the COACH BOT project is the “Virtual Coach”. It supports participants “individually” during the modular e-course providing them with various kinds of services. The “Virtual Coach” acts as a personal teacher, a coach and a peer assistant providing learners:

- orientation and creation of personalized training path
- in-depth information
- assessment and suggestion on the lessons contents
- help and technical support
- case studies and role playing

The COACH BOT methodology includes also an e-course curriculum ad hoc developed according to a personalised approach. This approachallows learners to benefit from a training path based on learners’ specific needs. Considering that each learner has his or her own specific work needs, knowledge and skill requirements, learners have the opportunity to create their own personal training programme. For example, a learner can choose to focus on certain topics while avoiding others or merely study only the basic information. The “Virtual Coach” interviews and chats with learners in order to create a student profile that can help guide them in selecting useful course modules which will constitute their own personal training path.

The project was based on the conversational agent technology. The conversational agent engine was created by AIML open source technology (Artificial Intelligence Mark-up Language), XML standard used to create chatbots. With the aim to interface the chatbot to the learning systems and the people, an open source AIML interpreter was used and modified to manage different data and algorithms.
The e-course “Enhancing the European home healthcare professionals’ competencies” was based on an e-learning methodology that allows each learner to build a personalized learning path. The e-learning can offer to health care workers the opportunity to develop internal motivation, as well as to develop self-learning skills that ensure learning as a life-long habit. On the other hand, especially among older health care workers, there is a “no acceptance” of internet and of the e-learning, and it is difficult to maintain the motivation to continually update own competencies. The COACH BOT methodology was designed taking into account the following main aspects: - User friendly and attractive - Easy to use - Maintenance of an high level of motivation - Use of pictorial rather than word elements - Necessity to focus on different aspects of learners - Freedom and flexibility for the trainees - Flexibility for the student - Rapidly to learn - Entrapment in one’s own study rhythm. The personalized learning path of each student consists of some topics selected from the list of modules of the course curriculum, on the base of each student specific needs. The complete course curriculum includes 15 modules divided in 4 main areas as follow:  A) Medical issues: Module A1 Support Individuals to access and participate in recreational activities; Module A2 Support individuals in their daily living.  B) Psychological issues: Module B3 Communication with elderly people; Module B4 Communication with dying patients and their family; Module B5 Communication with patients with hearing disabilities; Module B6 Communication with patients with seeing disabilities; Module B7 The relationship with patients family; Module B8 Establishing an help relationship.  C) National/EU health laws: Module C9 Introduction to the main Home Healthcare Worker EU legislation; Module C10 Home Healthcare Worker UK legislation; Module C11 Home Healthcare Workers SI legislation.  D) Social/ethical aspects: Module D12 Nurse: professional code and ethical aspects; Module; D13 Cultural differences in help relationships; Module D14 Social care workers professional code; Module D15 Self instruction and continuing learning. More information on
Quality indicators:
Use of strategies to collect narrative descriptions
Within the Coachbot project, means of collection of narrative descriptions were used such as focus groups before the course in order to analyze and understand the needs of the target groups. Then a face to face meeting collected information on the work done by the target groups. Also throughout the implementation of the course, narrative descriptions were gathered and were used as feedback from the course. Therefore, for this best practice the quality indicator that best describes it, is the use of strategies to collect narrative descpritions as it used a range of methods: focus groups, meetings, online forums.
The project evaluation strategy and process was based on the assumption that it should cover all representative aspects of ‘process’ and ‘content/product’. In fact, the evaluation process deals with both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the project and monitor and evaluate both processe.
The main products related to the quality and evaluation process that was accomplished during the project life was the quality and evaluation plan, check list/ record grids and questionnaires for evaluation purposes, indicators map and an evaluation reports (template and final version).
The evaluation process included the evaluation of project outputs related to the project activities and milestones, the evaluation of the project management effectiveness, COACH BOT methodology
and Virtual Coach efficacy, further implementation and transferability.

In order to carry out the evaluation of COACH BOT methodology it was designed and submitted two questionnaires to both control and experimentation groups:
• expectations questionnaire - at the beginning of the e-course
• customer satisfaction questionnaire - after the e-course ended.

The choice to realize two sessions of the e-learning course provided a fundamental added value to the project because thanks to the comparison between the two groups it was possible to obtain
meaningful data for analysing the core role of the “Virtual Coach” within an e-learning course.
There were designed two versions of the questionnaires for the two learners groups:
• Control group: both the questionnaires ncluded questions related to the e-learning platform and course contents (Learning Objects).
• Experimental group: both the questionnaires included the same questions of the control group’s questionnaires (related to the course e-learning platform and contents), but they also included an additional section related to the Virtual Coach application.
The questionnaires are multiple-choice questions’ questionnaires.
Thus, it was be possible to collect the different students expectations before the ecourse participation and the level of satisfaction about the e-course contents,structure and virtual support after the course end. The achieved results were compared with the users initial expectations with the purpose to assess the different self-perceptions and the level of satisfaction about the e-course.

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