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Journal article Open Access

Fostering Apprentice Beauticians' Visual Expertise Through Annotations: A Design Experiment Using the Platform Realto

Coppi, Alessia E.; Cattaneo, Alberto

Professional beauticians regularly perform skin analyses and should be skilled at observing small skin anomalies and skin damages. However, little is done directly for improving their observation skills at school, during their training. In order to foster apprentices’ observation skills of skin anomalies, a new training scheme exploiting annotations and attention guiding methods through the use of the platform Realto was developed and tested. A second year class of apprentice beauticians (N=9) was given a pre-test on the visual expertise of skin anomalies. Then, for a semester they attended multiple training sessions where firstly teachers explained skin anomaly images with the help of annotations (attention-guiding) and secondly, students were asked to observe other images of the same anomalies, annotate them, and then provide a textual description of the identified anomaly. At the end of the semester, the trained class completed a post-test and a questionnaire, and group interview have been collected. Another group of apprentices (N=19) of the third year who already completed the skin anomaly course was used as baseline. Results showed that the group who participated in the treatment mentioned almost double the amount of details noticed by the baseline group in the post-test; being trained using annotations and the Realto platform proved effective in developing observation skills, compared to normal lessons. Furthermore, apprentices confirmed, both through the questionnaire and the interviews, that they considered annotations useful for improving their observation skills and that using Realto and its annotation facilities was a good way to achieve this result.

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