The Potential of Digital Learning for Disease Prevention

Could digital learning solutions decrease newly reportable cases in emerging infectious disease? Are mobile learning solutions the key to disseminating accurate disease prevention information? How can you use this untapped medium of information technology to provide consistent, accurate, timely and mobile information to team members across borders?

Impact of human behaviour change

There is a proven link between the dissemination of information via media and the ability to slow down the spread of infectious disease1,2,3,4. Not only is there a correlation with the prevalence of news items and a decrease in newly reportable cases, there is also evidence that the duration of reporting can have an effect on disease related behaviours, leading to an even further decrease in newly reportable cases1. In their literature review, Funk, Salathé and Jansen assert that human behavioural change impacts on future epidemic control, and that recent advances in mobile technology have the potential for the further monitoring and measurement of these changes2.

Controlling future epidemics

Expanding on this conclusion, mobile technology could move from just a measurement tool to an active player in driving human behavioural change. Mobile technology and spreading information digitally has the potential to influence future epidemic control by creating accredited and timely mobile learning that is easily shared. Mobile learning programs which employ the same proven techniques, traditionally used by eLearning in corporate or academic environments, could enhance information retention and promote behavioural change. Ultimately, these digital learning techniques could have similar results to media in slowing down the spread of emerging infectious disease.

Exciting potential

At this stage, there has been very limited practice of using mobile learning technologies at the forefront of disease prevention, however we believe that this untapped field of information technology has exciting potential. As a company providing information technology and learning solutions for over 20 years, eCom can demonstrate the proven impact of digital learning in a variety of sectors and its potential for emerging disease prevention.

How eCom helps

We’ve already provided information sharing solutions for a number of forward-thinking groups who have had specific drives to ensure scientific information reaches diverse audiences.

We are currently supporting Hydrosense in their efforts to educate people about Legionella with a view to demonstrating the benefits of rapid testing compared to traditional methods. This ultimately creates awareness of certain bacteria and/or diseases and the steps needed to contain this.


  1. Collinson S, Khan K, Heffernan J. The Effects of Media Reports on Disease Spread and Important Public Health Measurements. PLOS ONE. 2015;10(11):e0141423. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141423.
  2. Funk S, Salathé M, Jansen V. Modelling the influence of human behaviour on the spread of infectious diseases: a review. Journal of The Royal Society Interface. 2010;7(50):1247-1256. doi:10.1098/rsif.2010.0142.
  3. Mass Media Coverage Helps Slow Down Disease Spread in an Epidemic. 2017. Available at: Accessed April 19, 2017.
  4. Sell T, Boddie C, McGinty E et al. Media Messages and Perception of Risk for Ebola Virus Infection, United States. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2017;23(1):108-111. doi:10.3201/eid2301.160589.
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