gms | German Medical Science

Research in Medical Education – Chances and Challenges International Conference

20.05. - 22.05.2009, Heidelberg

Curricular integration principles for virtual patients: a focus group study among students

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Cecilia Brasch - University Hospital for Paediatric and Adolscent Medicine, Departmet of General Paediatrics, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Friedrich Reichert - University Hospital for Paediatric and Adolscent Medicine, Departmet of General Paediatrics, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Benjamin Hanebeck - University Hospital for Paediatric and Adolscent Medicine, Departmet of General Paediatrics, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Hans-Martin Bosse - Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University, Department of General Paediatrics, University Hospital for Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Bas A. de Leng - Maastricht University, Department of Educational Development and Research, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • author Cees PM van der Vleuten - Maastricht University, Department of Educational Development and Research, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • author Martin Haag - Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University,Centre for Virtual Patients, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Georg F. Hoffmann - Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University, Department of General Paediatrics, University Hospital for Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Burkhard Tönshoff - Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University, Department of General Paediatrics, University Hospital for Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Sören Huwendiek - University Hospital for Paediatric and Adolscent Medicine, Departmet of General Paediatrics, Heidelberg, Germany

Research in Medical Education - Chances and Challenges 2009. Heidelberg, 20.-22.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09rmeK3

DOI: 10.3205/09rme61, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-09rme613

Published: May 5, 2009

© 2009 Brasch et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/deed.en). You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.


Outline

Abstract

Purpose: To examine students’ views on the ideal curricular integration of virtual patients (VPs) to foster learning.

Methods: 120 fourth year medical students worked on at least eight VPs in six different blended learning scenarios. The integration scenarios differed concerning sequence, tutor guidance, small group work, and patient involvement. Nine groups of 4-9 randomly selected students (n=39) participated in focus-group discussions facilitated by a moderator using a questioning route. The interviews were videotaped, transcribed and analysed. Summary reports were approved by the students.

Results: VPs should be integrated in curricula according to the following 11 principles:

1.
It should be possible to work on VPs flexibly;
2.
VP work and corresponding teaching events should be soundly adapted to each other (blended learning);
3.
The connection of VP work and corresponding teaching events should be explicitly stressed;
4.
Lectures or seminars should take place before working with VPs;
5.
Ideally, VP work should be followed by meeting a real patient;
6.
Small group wrap-up-sessions after working with VPs should be offered, especially in complex cases;
7.
Wrap-up sessions concerning two VPs with the same leading symptom but different diagnoses should be considered;
8.
Tutors of wrap-up sessions should be well informed about the VPs and well trained in facilitating small groups;
9.
Optimal single scenario: (i) Lecture, (ii) VP, (iii) wrap-up-session, (iv) real patient;
10.
VPs should be relevant for the exam;
11.
VPs should be offered throughout the medical curriculum in all preclinical and clinical subjects.

Conclusion: Students perceived the described curricular integration principles of VPs as highly relevant for their learning. Future studies will address the effects of these principles in quantitative controlled designs.