Learner preferences regarding integrating, sequencing and aligning virtual patients with other activities in the undergraduate medical curriculum: A focus group study

Huwendiek, Sören; Duncker, Cecilia; Reichert, Friedrich; De Leng, Bas A.; Dolmans, Diana; van der Vleuten, Cees P. M.; Haag, Martin; Hoffmann, Georg Friedrich; Tönshoff, Burkhard (2013). Learner preferences regarding integrating, sequencing and aligning virtual patients with other activities in the undergraduate medical curriculum: A focus group study. Medical teacher, 35(11), pp. 920-929. Informa Healthcare 10.3109/0142159X.2013.826790

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CONTEXT: E-learning resources, such as virtual patients (VPs), can be more effective when they are integrated in the curriculum. To gain insights that can inform guidelines for the curricular integration of VPs, we explored students' perceptions of scenarios with integrated and non-integrated VPs aimed at promoting clinical reasoning skills. METHODS: During their paediatric clerkship, 116 fifth-year medical students were given at least ten VPs embedded in eight integrated scenarios and as non-integrated add-ons. The scenarios differed in the sequencing and alignment of VPs and related educational activities, tutor involvement, number of VPs, relevance to assessment and involvement of real patients. We sought students' perceptions on the VP scenarios in focus group interviews with eight groups of 4-7 randomly selected students (n = 39). The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed qualitatively. RESULTS: The analysis resulted in six themes reflecting students' perceptions of important features for effective curricular integration of VPs: (i) continuous and stable online access, (ii) increasing complexity, adapted to students' knowledge, (iii) VP-related workload offset by elimination of other activities, (iv) optimal sequencing (e.g.: lecture--1 to 2 VP(s)--tutor-led small group discussion--real patient) and (V) optimal alignment of VPs and educational activities, (vi) inclusion of VP topics in assessment. CONCLUSIONS: The themes appear to offer starting points for the development of a framework to guide the curricular integration of VPs. Their impact needs to be confirmed by studies using quantitative controlled designs.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute for Medical Education > Assessment and Evaluation Unit (AAE)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute for Medical Education

UniBE Contributor:

Huwendiek, Sören

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

0142-159X

Publisher:

Informa Healthcare

Language:

English

Submitter:

Patrick Jucker-Kupper

Date Deposited:

26 Mar 2014 16:28

Last Modified:

27 Jan 2015 11:46

Publisher DOI:

10.3109/0142159X.2013.826790

PubMed ID:

24003850

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.44792

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/44792

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