Blog 67

Simulated Person Methodology

Eva Peisachovich, Faculty of Health

“We got to practice stuff that you might not experience in placement”.

 “I feel like it makes the transition from knowledge to application a lot easier”.

 “Just talking to them about a health history after that simulation made it so much easier”.

These statements were from students who experienced the application of Simulated Person Methodology (SPM) in their learning environment. There are many things which cannot be learned from simply reading books or hearing lectures. As a medium of experiential education the use of simulation provides the opportunity to practice and apply professional competencies with an excellent degree of accuracy. It provides a range of decisional possibilities not possible in case studies. This form of experiential learning uses real people (simulators) to enact scenarios in which learners practice and apply professional competencies. These simulations breathe life into knowledge gained through traditional education. Reflection on learning and experience is embedded within this methodology through an iterative process, guided facilitation, prebriefing and debriefing. Learners receive feedback on professional manner, attitude, and interpersonal skills, thus promoting specific and individualized learning. The use of SPM as an experiential learning tool in teaching communication, decision making and problem solving can fill gaps between what is required in the job market and what is supplied by the education system.

The applications of SPM are endless and can include any interaction between people in which knowledge and skills are applied. SPM is a valued tool in health professions education and assessment and can have similar use as a teaching method in schools of law, business, education, social, library sciences and more.

The support of Academic Innovation Fund has allowed for the initiation of an exciting, multiphase project based on SPM. The aim of this project is to provide educators with the tools to apply and embed SPM in their teaching and to work with human simulators in the context of a teaching-learning setting. The project consists of a) pilot SPM workshop, b) observation of educators and simulation in action, c) focus groups with learners, simulators and faculty members. The pilot SPM workshop was held in the summer of 2016. The inaugural participants engaged in a highly, interactive three-day workshop. This workshop provided foundational principles of SPM and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Data was collected using participant observation during the implementation of simulation scenarios by the faculty in their curriculum during the fall 2016. Separate focus groups were held for learner, faculty and simulators. Educators participating in the SPM can gain the following skills/competencies: development and implementation of simulation, the application of this pedagogy in the academic setting and personal capacity in the integration of experiential education into curriculum. Findings of the project will be disseminated through publications and conference presentations. These steps move us closer to the goal of fostering pedagogical environments that facilitate students’ critical thinking and self-reflection and prepares graduates at York University to practice in complex and dynamic workplace environments.  For more information on simulated person methodology or to register for the upcoming workshop visit:

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