Digital Self-Development: How Mobile Fitness Apps and Tracking Devices Aid in the Development of Physical Skills

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  • As personalized digital technologies have developed over the past decade, so too has the desire among some people to use mobile applications and tracking devices to capture data about their activities for the purposes of personal development. Current research considers The Quantified Self, personal informatics, design and behaviour change as ways to examine how these new personal technologies are used and implemented. Informed by Self-Determination Theory, this research study examines how six members of an online self-development platform use tracking applications and devices in order to determine whether these technologies aided them in building upon and acquiring new physical skills. Qualitative data obtained from semi-structured interviews with each participant was examined. The findings from these data suggested that mobile tracking applications and devices can successfully help users develop new physical skills, so long as certain criteria are met, such as adequate design, informative communication, and ease of use. Further research can build on these findings as technologies become more advanced and provide richer sets of personal data and find new ways to bring about successful behaviour change and skills acquisition.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International