Simulated interprofessional education : an analysis of teaching and learning processes

van Soeren, Mary, Devlin-Cop, Sandra, Macmillan, Kathleen, Baker, Lindsay, Egan-Lee, Eileen and Reeves, Scott (2011) Simulated interprofessional education : an analysis of teaching and learning processes. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 25(6), pp. 434-440. ISSN (print) 1356-1820


Simulated learning activities are increasingly being used in health professions and interprofessional education (IPE). Specifically, IPE programs are frequently adopting role-play simulations as a key learning approach. Despite this widespread adoption, there is little empirical evidence exploring the teaching and learning processes embedded within this type of simulation. This exploratory study provides insight into the nature of these processes through the use of qualitative methods. A total of 152 clinicians, 101 students and 9 facilitators representing a range of health professions, participated in video-recorded role-plays and debrief sessions. Videotapes were analyzed to explore emerging issues and themes related to teaching and learning processes related to this type of interprofessional simulated learning experience. In addition, three focus groups were conducted with a subset of participants to explore perceptions of their educational experiences. Five key themes emerged from the data analysis: enthusiasm and motivation, professional role assignment, scenario realism, facilitator style and background and team facilitation. Our findings suggest that program developers need to be mindful of these five themes when using role-plays in an interprofessional context and point to the importance of deliberate and skilled facilitation in meeting desired learning outcomes.

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