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Disciplines & Themes

  • Nursing
  • Clinical Skills Assessment

Learning focus:  

  • Competency Development & Assessment
  • Clinical Skills Assessment
  • Reflective Practice

Design focus:

  • Customised learning templates
  • App-based learning
  • External assessment

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Observing and assessing clinical performance across the oceans

Curtin University is ranked in the top one per cent of universities worldwide in the highly regarded Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2020. Curtin is a global university, with campuses located in Perth, Western Australia, and in Dubai, Malaysia, Mauritius and Singapore. They joined the PebblePad Community in 2016, and the platform was instrumental in helping with some of the challenges brought about by COVID-19. In this project, PebblePad was used to support distance learning and assessment in nursing when international assessors were unable to travel.

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Nursing is offered on the Singapore campus, and academic staff regularly travel from Australia for teaching and assessment. When the borders closed, we had two weeks’ notice to come up with a replacement means of assessment that would be rigorous and easy to implement immediately and at scale.


The 'Practical Assessment at a distance' Ambition 

The advent of COVID-19 and travel restrictions required a rapid rethink, since assessors were unable to travel from Australia for teaching and to conduct assessment. One of the required units is Health assessment for the Clinician. The final assessment is a practical assessment – students need to be observed conducting a health assessment on a model ‘patient’ to ensure competency and inclusion of all required elements of the task. Particular challenges included:

  • an alternative solution had to be found for face-to-face assessment activities – and quickly

  • the assessment needed to be rigorous and easy to implement immediately and at scale

  • the solution had to be able to handle intermittent and unstable wifi .


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It was an email advising of the availability of additional PebblePad licenses that gave Helen Godwin – Nursing Co-ordinator and a long-term PebblePad user with her Australian cohorts - the idea to move the Singapore assessment activity online into PebblePad. The flexibility of PebblePad supported maintaining authentic aspects and the necessary practical application of knowledge and skills of the task.

The Successful Workflow

The solution was to create a PebblePad worksheet to guide the students through the task. The students would conduct the mock health assessment, using either a colleague or a family member as the ‘patient’ and video themselves using a phone to demonstrate their performance of the clinical skills. The worksheet included space for the students to upload their video and once the videos were shared in PebblePad, assessors in Australia could provide feedback remotely.

Students record their patient health assessment on a phone using the PebblePocket app, which is then viewed and assessed through PebblePad. The platform's intuitive interface and extensive support material meant that even though the assessors and students had no prior PebblePad experience, they were able to pick it up and run with the assessment successfully in a very short timeframe.

Having a standardised worksheet, set to be automatically shared to the assessment space upon saving, ensured a consistent approach, which made supporting students easier and the processes for marking - and later, moderation - straightforward and scalable.



Our PebbleVision video, while not specifically about this case study, shows the use of PebblePocket to record evidence 
of stages of skill development - anytime, anywhere it occurs.


The PebblePad Difference

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PebblePad provided a very simple solution to a complex situation – and it worked beautifully. 

PebblePad has helped Curtin University to achieve these benefits...

  • A simple workflow and consistent approach for both students and assessors.

  • Authentic and rigorous assessment, able to be conducted remotely.

  • Easy recording and seamless account syncing via the PebblePocket App.

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Four reasons why institutions like Curtin University trust us to help them make a meaningful difference to learner success.


We're more than a little proud of our 17-year track record of helping universities scaffold learning journeys which make a meaningful difference to student success. 


We're big enough to be trusted by leading organisations across the globe, but small enough to value every partner. It's why our customer-base, just like our team, is growing year on year.


PebblePad offers unrivalled capability when it comes to student-centred learning - helping universities transform the learning journey on and off campus - at any scale, across any context.


Our customers rely on us to support business-critical activity at scale, 24 hours a day. You only need to look at our uptime and usage data to see that PebblePad is a platform you can trust.


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