• Effectiveness and Student Perception of Simulated Case Based Learning in a Pre Clinical Medical Education

      Weed, Michael; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Savi, Christine (The University of Arizona., 2016-03-25)
      Over the past decade, patient simulation has become an important teaching tool in allopathic medical education. Initially, medical simulation was used exclusively in the clinical years of medical training, but implementation into pre‐clinical curriculum is becoming increasingly common. Because simulated teaching experiences are a relatively new practice in pre‐clinical medical education, little is known about their value in this setting. We hypothesize that high‐fidelity patient simulation is an effective method of teaching basic medical sciences during the pre‐clinical years and that it will be viewed favorably by students when compared to other established teaching modalities. The purpose of our study is to: (1) test for an effect of teaching method on test score performance by comparing the results of relevant test items given to two student groups: a simulation group and a traditional case‐based instruction group; (2) determine student perception of simulation as a learning method for basic medical sciences. Methods: A one tier, mixed methods design was used to sequence this study. Test item scores were obtained from the classes of 2015 and 2016 at the University of Arizona College of Medicine ‐ Phoenix and results were analyzed using descriptive statistics to compare means and item difficulty. A Fisher’s exact test was conducted to compare test item performance between students who did and did not use simulation in their case‐based instruction group. Presimulation and post‐simulation surveys were also administered and thematic extraction used to triangulate results to quantitative findings. Results: There was no significant difference between performance of the simulation (n=48) and non‐simulation (n=79) group on the three test items. Survey results from this particular study indicate that students do enjoy learning in the simulated case‐based environment and that they find it to be intellectually stimulating. They also believe simulation will be useful in their careers. They do not, however, believe that it is as effective at teaching basic medical sciences when compared to the traditional lecture hall setting. Students also find simulation learning to be more stressful than small group learning. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that students who learn material through simulated case instruction perform as well as their counterparts who learn the material in traditional small group non‐simulated settings. However, our survey data suggests that while student perception of simulation is positive overall, there are instances in which simulation is viewed less favorably than both small group and traditional lecture environments. When analyzed together, the test item performance and survey findings show that while simulation can be an effective teaching tool in pre‐clinical medical education, there was not a significant difference when compared to lecture hall and non‐ simulated small group learning settings.