Making it real: The development of a web-based simulated learning resource for occupational therapy students
Equipping students with graduate attributes that ensure they are ready to work in complex health environments is highly important. Recently there has been increased use of simulation in health education to assist in the acquisition of graduate attributes, and to provide meaningful and authentic learning opportunities. The Deakin University Occupational Therapy program developed a unique web-based Occupational Therapy Simulations for Learning resource. This resource comprised 18 filmed scenarios that were previously non-existent or only available to students in written format. The scenarios depict people with a range of health conditions, mock graduate interviews, and occupational therapists conducting simulated clinical assessments and interventions. This study explored the effectiveness of the resource in the development of empathy, active listening, and information gathering skills. It also compared experiences of students and academics who had previously used written case studies. Survey results demonstrated statistically significant differences in relation to the realness of case studies, understanding how the client was feeling, development of empathy, clinical assessment skills, and the usefulness of the resource overall. This study demonstrates that the use of simulated case studies offers authentic learning for occupational therapy students and promotes development of key graduate attributes.
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