The majority of people with spinal cord injury (SCI) in the United States are not meeting the recommended guidelines for regular physical activity. Behavior change techniques (eg, goal setting and action planning) that are framed within the principles of the social cognitive theory (self-efficacy and self-regulation) have the potential to enhance physical activity behavior.
The aim of the study was to develop and test the usability of an electronic learning (e-learning) program for improving social cognitive factors related to physical activity behavior among people with SCI.
The program was created through an iterative process of development and refinement, using a modification of a similar methodology used to develop evidence-informed guidelines in health promotion for people with disabilities (Guidelines, Recommendations, and Adaptations Including Disability; GRAIDs framework). The study included 4 phases: (1) initial product creation, (2) national survey, (3) expert review, and (4) usability testing. Usability testing included both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analyses.
The review of the program by an expert panel (n=5) and the results from a national survey (n=142) led to several refinements. Usability testing demonstrated that the program could be completed in a timely manner (<30 min). Participants reported 5 themes: (1) the program improves social cognitions related to physical activity participation; (2) reflection of physical activity behavior; (3) positive perceptions of the quality of the program; (4) positive perceptions of the program operation and effectiveness; and (5) recommendations for improvement. Each item was incorporated into a revised program version 1.0.
This study incorporated an evidence-based framework for developing a brief 30-min e-learning program for increasing the physical activity behavior among people with SCI. The Exercise Strategies Through Optimized Relevant Interactive E-learning Storytelling (e-STORIES) program could be completed in a timely manner and was reported by participants as valuable and useful for enhancing intent-to-perform physical activity in individuals with SCI. The program has the potential to be applied in a variety of settings, but feasibility testing is required before implementing in a larger trial.