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PechaKucha Session 1: Implementing an online Virtual Patient-Based PBL curriculum -- 92

11:30 - 12:45 on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 in 2.220

Problem-based learning is well established in medical education. Students work through paper PBL cases and explore possible investigations, diagnoses and treatments, generating learning objectives to solve the problem, in groups of eight with a facilitating tutor. At St George's University of London (SGUL) the ‘Generation 4’ project explored the extent to which online virtual patients (VPs) could be used to transform the existing PBL curriculum.

Paper PBL cases were rewritten by subject matter experts to create online VP cases which replaced existing paper-based cases. The online VP cases allow students optional routes through a case, making clinical decisions and exploring the outcomes of those decisions. This allowed a cohort of approximately 300 students to practice their clinical reasoning skills when making choices within the case. The cases were enriched with resources where relevant to supplement the cases, these included; pictures, videos, and interactive clinical images. Students were provided extra resources to supplement the case on the institutional VLE and a wiki was set up for each group to share information with members within the group.

Formative assessments VPs were designed around the topic of the week, providing students with additional opportunities to widen their understanding of the subject and assess their knowledge. A mobile app has been created for students to download and play the cases on the move.

Evaluation data was gathered via questionnaires, interviews and focus groups. Students and tutors strongly supported the new developments, believing that the opportunity to manage patients and experience the consequences of their decisions in a safe environment provided a more authentic learning experience, and increased discussion during the PBL sessions. A controlled trial demonstrated a 20% increase in student exam performance in questions associated with these areas of decision-making. The online VP PBLs have been fully embedded into the curriculum for the past 3 years and will be delivered in the SGUL MBBS franchised course at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus.

G4 has led to a more adaptive, personalised, competency-based style of learning which more closely matches the role of the practitioner. PBL experience has been transformed by a range of interactive technologies built around a core of virtual patients which extends the learning opportunities available within PBL tutorial. The project demonstrated that branched virtual patients enhance the quality of the student learning experience in Problem-based Learning. It is now part of the SGUL curriculum.


Friday, 7 September 2012, 14:00