Glycemic control in adolescents with type 1 diabetes: Are computerized simulations effective learning tools?

Ilana Dubovi, Sharona T. Levy, Milana Levy, Nehama Zuckerman Levin, Efrat Dagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) in adolescent patients is often characterized by poor glycemic control. This study aimed at exploring the contribution of learning with computerized simulations to support: (a) mechanistic understanding of the biochemical processes related to diabetes; (b) diabetes self-management knowledge; and (c) glycemic control. We hypothesized that learning with such simulations might support adolescents in gaining a better understanding of the biochemical processes related to glucose regulation, and consequently improve their glycemic control. Methods: A prospective case-control study was conducted in 12- to 18-year-old adolescents with T1DM (n = 85) who were routinely treated at an outpatient diabetes clinic. While the control group (n = 45) received the routine face-to-face follow-up, the intervention group (n = 40) learned in addition with computerized simulations that were embedded in pedagogically supportive activities. Participants in both groups completed a set of questionnaires regarding sociodemographic characteristics, diabetes mechanistic reasoning and diabetes self-management. Clinical data and serum glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels were gathered from medical records. All the data was collected at recruitment and 3 months later. Results: Analysis revealed improvement HbA1c levels in the intervention group (8.7% ± 1.7%) vs the controls (9.6% ± 1.6%) after 3 months (P <.05). Regression analysis showed that levels of diabetes mechanistic understanding and diabetes self-management knowledge, in addition to sociodemographic parameters, accounted for 31% of the HbA1c variance (P <.001). Conclusion: These results suggest that learning with computerized simulations about biochemical processes can improve adolescents' adherence to medical recommendations and result in improved glycemic control. Implementing scientific learning into the hospital educational setting is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-338
Number of pages11
JournalPediatric Diabetes
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • adherence
  • adolescence
  • agent-based models
  • computer-based simulations
  • patient education
  • type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Prospective Studies
  • Simulation Training
  • Humans
  • Glycemic Control
  • Male
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1/blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Glycated Hemoglobin/metabolism
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Self-Management/education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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