Implementing an Online Interactive Curriculum using Virtual Patient

Trupti Bakrania BSc (Hons) Medical Biochemistry, St George's University of London
Dr Alexandra Higton, e-Learning Unit, St George's University of London
Sheetal Kavia, BSc (Hons) Medical Biology, e-Learning Unit, St George's University of London
Luke Woodham, MSC Multimedia Applications & Virtual Environments, e-Learning Unit, St George's University of London
Prof Sean Hilton, St George's University of London
Prof Terry Poulton, e-Learning Unit, St George's University of London

Background: A project termed Generation 4, funded by the Joint information System Committee in the UK , St George’s has introduced an interactive online Problem-Based Learning (PBL) curriculum using interactive Virtual Patients (VPs). These sessions are delivered in the Transitional year between campus based learning and clinical attachments, as ‘Clinical PBL’. At key management points in the patient case, students consider options, take decisions and explore the consequences of their actions.

Work done: Existing paper cases were reviewed, adapted to an interactive ‘branching‘ VP structure, and published online, accompanied with tutor guides. VPs were delivered to groups of students in conventional PBL sessions facilitated by a tutor. Students worked through the VP, discussing the unfolding patient scenario, generating learning objectives and making management decisions. A variety of e-tools and resources were integrated with e-case delivery to enrich the VP experience, including student wikis.

Results: The process has been very well received by students, tutors and the institution and in controlled trials has shown a positive impact on exam performance. The presentation will highlight the responses and experiences of students, tutors, case writers, and staff involved in this curriculum transformation. Conclusion: This curriculum transformation has produced a more adaptive, personalised, competency-based style of learning which more closely matches the role of the practitioner.