Erasmus+ European Program: Strategic Partnership for Higher Education
Co-funded by ERASMUS+ IKY
Democritus University of Thrace
The partnership has come together under the common belief that health promotion and well-being in the workplace is one of the most pressing concerns European economies are facing. The common goal and vision amongst the partnership members was that there is need for a learning program (transforming 'ideas into action' in line with Europe 2020 recommendations) for exercise and health specialists. This program will act as a catalyst for their own professional development and will enhance well-being and quality of life at Work Space at the same time.Read more
A focus group with representatives from enterprises (office employees with sustainable sitting position using a computer reporting neck pain symptoms) took place in each country by the HEIs’ partners. Target groups were asked about possible musculoskeletal problems they had or felt during and/or after their work, the severity of symptoms etc.
The activity identified a gap in the guidance of office workers with neck discomfort in appropriate exercises and stress management strategies for prevention or management of their complaint especially in the workplace. These results provided some important support for the importance of the THEWS project.
The joint staff training event took place in Herne, Germany with the following context: First, trainers were informed by medical experts on current methods of clinical treatment for neck pain and key points for designing therapeutic protocols. Then, the trainers presented and discussed with physicians and physical therapists the contents of health promotion programs with emphasis on those addressing neck pain symptoms. Second, specific learning modules according to exercise experts’ knowledge and topics for each module were defined by all the partners. These topics were adjusted to those initially referred in the submission of the project (initially the topics were 6) following the discussion with the physicians and physical therapists (finally the topics became 8).
The modules were jointly developed between academics (DUTH,HBV,EDEX) and medical experts (GER) as well as being a joint development relationship between countries. Each partner organization had a co-development role across all the modules envisaged. The final modules number and content (8 modules) that were decided during the Joint Staff training event (learning activity) and the 2nd transnational meeting in Herne, using the results of the O1A1 (Needs analysis phase focus groups) had been completed.
The topics of Learning materials and corresponding teaching hours were
The learning material contained the power point presentations (slides) for the ISP program and also photos, videos, original research and review articles, intermediate control tests with written assessment of cognitive appraisal, topics for group discussions and study at home,topics for practical application from the students in the laboratory, case study work, study problem solving projects and study.
The platform provided an online space for all target groups and consisted of a space with four types of users, (i) learners, (learning materials) (ii) trainers (interaction with learners) (iii) administrators (oversee the whole process) iv) office employees (use the multimedia application).
During the project, learners were able to access learning materials that staff provided before the beginning, during and after the online teaching program, and were able to develop their analysis and reflections. Trainers were able also to insert their learning materials as slide presentations and/or multi-media. The administrator was able to oversee the whole process, ensure quality of content & apply suitable user management and content management processes.
During the project and after the end of the project, office employees with neck pain can use the multimedia application (O8 Output) that leads them to the appropriate therapeutic exercise program according to their symptoms.Let Me Try It!
A 5 days face-to face (not online) Intensive Study Program was undertaken in NOR (HBV) with the participation of all educational staff of partners and 10 learners/students from the target group of students in Exercise & Health from each HEI’s country. During these five days all modules have been delivered in a pre-scheduled program which contained teaching in the classroom and practice (morning and evening hours, 6 hours per day).
The online teaching period (O5/A1) was applied as following:
From December 2015 until April 2016 learners had to accomplish specific assignments: study and answer questions for 4 scientific articles (1 article per month December - March) and one case study report (on April).
During the Intensive Study Program, a 5 days video recording collected all the material required to produce an instructional video and a video trailer for dissemination. The points of interest for video recording were discussed and selected by all the partners in the activity with emphasis on exercise execution. Subtitles were added to the instructional video in English and also in the Dissemination Video.
The Activity Leader (HBV) was responsible for the development of questionnaires and to determine the different stages for evaluation (during the ISP and at the end of the online teaching). Mixed methods retrospective design, using both questionnaires and a focus group interview was carried out. Twenty-seven female and male students from Greece, Cyprus and Norway responded to the questionnaire, whereas six students participated in the focus group interview. The ISP took place in Norway and lasted for one week. It contained eight modules with lectures, exercises, group work and assignments. Main goal of the ISP was to teach and train the students to use the THEWS program mainly to office workers.
First partners (EDEX,DUTH,HBV) registered the different neck pain profiles (neck-shoulder pain area, type of pain, duration of the pain etc.) in relation to work profile (working hours, brakes etc) and office employee’s physical condition (data already collected in Focus Groups O1A1) and developed a questionnaire for the office employee.
Then, they designed a variety of therapeutic exercise protocols and interventions addressing different neck pain symptoms (according to type, duration and area of pain) and interventions techniques (such as adapting the proper head-neck-shoulder position, stretching and strengthening exercises, techniques of stress management and relaxation). Video files have been also developed for all of these exercises to be added by the IPN partner to the Web-Platform and specifically in the multimedia application described below.
The multimedia application was developed by IT specialists (IPN) based on different "scenarios" of neck pain that would be possibly described by office employees who followed the questionnaire of symptoms (revealed from the focus group). A set of selected therapeutic exercises and interventions have been specified addressing diverse neck pain symptoms and/or in different parts of the head, neck and the back. The result was an application that allows the employee to answer questions related to neck pain characteristics and pain parts of the body and suggests an appropriate sequence of exercises with video or audio presentation for accurate execution.Let Me Try It!
The information leaflet to enterprises aimed to outline the project’s outputs and give awareness on the neck pain in office employees.
These are the types of dissemination activities organized during the THEWS project in order to inform the companies and the general public on the Therapeutic exercise in the work place.
The Handbook with guidelines adapted for exercise and rehabilitation specialists is the essence of the learning materials adapted to practice for rehabilitation and exercise specialists.
A Round Table was organized during the International Congress on Sports and Physical Activity by the Coordinator Partner (DUTH) on May 2016. (Dissemination activities).
An academic paper was developed jointly by the academic partners and the medical experts, to disseminate to academic communities, the key issues around the methodology and process of the THEWS. It is already submitted for revision to the proceedings of the 24th International Congress of Sports held in Komotini, from 20 to 22 of May, 2016 and it might be submitted to one or more academic conferences, and possibly an academic journal.
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The joint staff training event took place in Herne, Germany with the following context: First, trainers were informed by medical experts on current methods of clinical treatment for neck pain and key points for designing therapeutic protocols. Then, the trainers presented and discussed with physicians and physical therapists the contents of health promotion programs with emphasis on those addressing neck pain symptoms. Second, specific learning modules according to exercise experts’ knowledge and topics for each module were defined by all the partners. These topics were adjusted to those initially referred in the submission of the project (initially the topics were 6) following the discussion with the physicians and physical therapists (finally the topics became 8).See photos and videos
A 5 days face-to face (not online) Intensive Study Program was undertaken in NOR (HBV) with the participation of all educational staff of partners and 10 learners/students from the target group of students in Exercise & Health from each HEI’s country. During these five days all modules have been delivered in a pre-scheduled program which contained teaching in the classroom and practice (morning and evening hours, 6 hours per day).See photos and videos
ALBA Graduate Business School, Xenias 10, 1st floor, Athens, Greece.
9.00am to 5.15pm, St. Anna Hospital Hospitalstrasse 19, 44649 Herne.
1.00pm to 5.00pm, Buskerud and Vestfold University College and via Skype.
3.00pm to 6.00pm, ALBA Graduate Business School, Xenias 10, 1st floor, Athens, Greece.