We are looking for an independent and motivated bachelor or master student human movement sciences or health sciences to evaluate the Council of Coaches (COUCH) system with older adults.

Background information

The average life expectancy has been remarkably increased. However, the unhealthy years, have also been increased. More and more older adults are living under the effects of various chronic conditions. Such conditions cannot be cured, but it has been shown that a healthy lifestyle substantially contributes to their prevention, and reduces their impact on quality of life. Tools that provide personalized coaching are rapidly emerging, and in some domains (e.g. physical activity) have penetrated the market. Key limitations are that such tools focus on a single domain, are targeted at a young and active audience, and lack the ability to remain engaging over longer periods of time.

To address these issues, a radically new concept of virtual coaching is introduced: Council of Coaches (see Figure 1). The Council of Coaches demonstrator that will be used in this study, is a web application, designed and built to run on tablets. The application’s main functionality is to provide a friendly and easy to use interface that allows users to have natural language dialogues with a group (5-6) of virtual coaches. The final Council of Coaches system will support the following virtual coaches: physical activity, diet, social, cognition, peer/support, chronic pain, and diabetes. Depending on the user’s needs, a subset of these coaches is provided to the user (e.g. without specific conditions, the chronic pain coach and diabetes coach will be absent).






Figure 1: Screenshot of a Council of Coaches prototype version.


The aim of this evaluation study is to assess the user experience, actual use and potential health effect of a fully working Council of Coaches system implemented in a real-life setting among the target population.

Study design

An observational cohort study with a pre-test/post-test design will be carried out. The pre-test measurements will be performed before the use of COUCH, and the post-test measurements will be performed after using COUCH for four weeks. Furthermore, there will be baseline measurements and facultative follow-up measurements.

Main activities student

The student will support the execution of the evaluation, and will analyse the data needed for his/her own thesis.

Student profile

This assignment has a duration of approximately 8 months. We offer two bachelor assignments with both a duration of 4 months. The first assignment will start from January 2020 till April 2020. The second assignment will start from May 2020 till August 2020. We are looking for a student human movement sciences or health sciences. Speaking Dutch is required.

Interested? Please fill in this form!