Virtual Patients (VP) are used in medical education to help students contextualise key concepts through problem based online learning (Berman et al., 2016). VPs also provide students with the opportunity to explore patient scenarios including diagnosis, treatment and management options in their own time at their pace.
However, developing impactful and sustainable online VP cases that have a high student uptake can be challenging (Childs et al., 2005). One strategy is to integrate VPs into the curriculum by providing scenarios online prior to face-to-face workshops with the intention of exploring topics in more depth during class time through discussion and problem-solving activities facilitated by teachers to increase student engagement.
This 20 minute presentation will discuss the findings of a report that evaluated two VP cases designed for a masters module at the University of Southampton.
This session will be structured in 4 parts:
1. A brief introduction and background to VPs and the masters programme to provide context for the audience.
2. Overview of the design and integration of the online virtual patient cases into the classroom to foster open-mindedness, problem solving and student engagement with the topic.
3. Overview of qualitative feedback and quantitative data collected for the evaluation report.
4. The report findings and reflections how these have informed and improved future online learning development.
This presentation links to the Creativity across the curriculum theme:
– nurturing the development of curiosity, open-mindedness, problem solving and imagination
The presentation will explore the design and integration of the online virtual patient into the classroom and how this opened up the opportunity for teachers and students to work together to solve problems and learn more about how decisions are made in practice.
The presentation will also consider highlights from the evaluation report such as students valuing the opportunity to learn from each other and explore the patient journey from different professional perspectives.
– how digital learning and teaching across the curriculum foster creativity skills and benefits can this bring
The VPs were developed and shaped by a core team that included the two module leads and a teaching fellow (responsible for technology enhanced learning on the programme). There was also input from course lecturers and other subject matter experts from across the curriculum who contributed to the VP content development, delivered supporting lectures and student group work sessions.
The presentation will discuss how collaboration and drawing on digital learning good practice led to the generation of new teaching delivery ideas and approaches that improved student engagement with online materials within the course.
The presentation will include practical ways to create sustainable online resources that integrate with face to face teaching sessions to improve student engagement and collaborative working.
The session will be of interest to module leads, learning designers, TEL practitioners and those who create online learning objects and are looking for ideas on how to easily and effectively improve student engagement and uptake of these resources.
1. Berman, N.B., Durning, S.J., Fischer, M.R., Huwendiek, S. and Triola, M.M., 2016. The role for virtual patients in the future of medical education. Academic medicine, 91(9), pp.1217-1222.
2. Childs, S., Blenkinsopp, E., Hall, A. and Walton, G., 2005. Effective e‐learning for health professionals and students—barriers and their solutions. A systematic review of the literature—findings from the HeXL project. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 22, pp.20-32.