6 Trends in Simulation-Based Learning in Medical Education

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Healthcare education is a rapidly changing environment, especially in the simulation field. Even though simulation-based learning in medical education has evolved over the years, it has firmly established itself as a critical pillar in training future practitioners and promoting better patient outcomes. From a practical standpoint this is one of the primary drivers of why the industry continues to thrive.

As the medical simulation training space continues to evolve, technology continues to expand, and demand for qualified practitioners continues to grow, we start to see some clearly defined trends emerge.

Hybrid Delivery of Learning Methods

Student recruitment and retention are primary challenges facing healthcare education institutions today. Offering an assortment of instructional models to appeal to a wider range of learners is a key component in growing and maintaining institutional enrollment.

The fact of the matter is that student expectations vary. Many healthcare education students are looking for flexible, non-traditional instructional modalities that are more compatible with their busy schedules, while others are more comfortable with traditional learning modes. For this reason, many schools are adapting their offerings to include hybrid learning methods for certain types of medical simulation.

By combining face-to-face instruction with enterprise-level video content management and livestream technologies, educators can merge multiple learning methods and meet the demands of all learners while maintaining a high level of instructional quality.

Analytics and Enhanced Competency Tracking 

Healthcare education administrators are increasingly called upon to find ways to enhance learning success across core competencies. In order to track these results, simulation educators must address the implementation of curriculum-wide learner progression tracking, and in the case of students who aren’t meeting requirements, how to quickly identify those learners and guide them toward remediation when necessary.

Advanced analytics from competency tracking software interwoven with existing simulation platforms provide robust assessment tracking and reporting solutions. With access to multiple layers of activity-driven simulation data, educators can utilize the provided analytics to comprehensively track competency-based training activities at the individual, cohort, and course levels.  

These automated systems can quickly identify learning gaps and send appropriate notifications for intervention to students and faculty, helping prevent learners from falling behind in their simulation-based learning in medical education.

Expediting Practitioners into the Field 

Federal data indicates an expected shortage of healthcare professionals in the next decade. Despite this anticipated shortfall, healthcare training facilities have had to turn away tens of thousands of qualified applicants due to inadequate resources, including training facilities and qualified faculty. Now facing a situation where they have to do less with more, educators are turning to simulation-based learning in medical education to help expedite students’ clinical readiness.

A National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) study found that 50 percent of traditional nursing education clinical hours can be replaced with simulation. Using healthcare simulation software, educators can conduct healthcare simulation scenarios for large groups of learners, decreasing the instructional impact on already stretched-thin faculty and staff. Additionally, the ability to attend to larger cohorts lessens the burden on facilities. Therefore, students waiting for clinical experience have more opportunities to get their hours in regardless of resource availability limitations.

Further Integration into Ongoing Adult Education in Healthcare Environments 

With the rapidly evolving world of healthcare delivery, the benefits of simulation-based learning in medical education can no longer end after a health practitioner’s school days. Doctors, nurses, and physician’s assistants must stay apprised of the latest clinical techniques and care methods throughout their careers.

On-premise, mobile, and flexible implementations of medical simulation scenarios allow busy healthcare professionals to stay abreast of the latest in caregiving techniques while remaining on-site in conditions that are more accommodating to hectic professional schedules. Allowing clinical providers to perform training during the workday saves the cost of having to further fill already busy schedules with off-site training.

Simulation for current professionals isn’t just limited to individual learning. Interprofessional education (IPE) paired with simulation is an excellent approach to cross-train departments and staff from separate locations, providing them with insights into the responsibilities of discipline areas outside of their areas of specialty, and giving participants a holistic view of healthcare that will enhance patient outcomes.

In Situ Simulation 

Studies have shown an appropriate amount of realism in simulation training, while still providing a low-stakes environment, greatly improves training outcomes. In situ simulation provides experiential learning in real-world settings, allowing healthcare trainees to engage in near-actual practice.

Because of in situ simulation’s implementation in actual clinical environments, educators can provide learners the ability to improve their clinical reliability and safety in high-risk areas without any danger. This unique on-the-go style of medical simulation focuses on teamwork skills and provides higher amounts of realism than can be accomplished in a standard simulation center.

Telehealth Simulation 

Telehealth training allows an educator and a learner who are geographically distant to participate in a wide range of medical simulation scenarios involving standardized patients in a video-based environment.

The arrival of COVID-19 clearly highlighted the need for quality telehealth service delivery, but impactful training for telemedicine encounters was nearly nonexistent. Since the pandemic, telehealth has taken a prominent role in simulation-based learning in medical education.

Healthcare education institutions have quickly pivoted to telemedicine-ready simulation management platforms that have helped them modernize their training programs to merge and manage virtual, online, live, and mobile training curricula.

The Future of Simulation-Based Learning in Medical Education

Healthcare educators face an ever-evolving array of challenges. From the fast pace of medical training environments, to rapidly changing student expectations, to increased demand for their services and output, there is no shortage of issues that demand their attention.

Fortunately, the benefits of simulation-based learning extend beyond its value to students and can address many of these challenges head-on. Simulation’s flexible nature allows instructors to increase output to meet the healthcare industry’s demand for new practitioners, quickly adapt to provide training for new healthcare delivery methods, and provide detailed analytical insight into the learning process that benefits both students and faculty.

Does your current simulation solution allow you to leverage healthcare training trends to improve your learning outcomes? If not, we invite you to discover how EMS’ 30 years of experience in the industry helps us incorporate these latest technology innovations into our simulation training platforms, helping you make the most of the complete scope of your simulation training efforts.

Does your simulation training program have room for growth and improvement? To discover how EMS and its SIMULATIONiQ platforms can help you boost student outcomes in your nursing simulation lab, Schedule a Free Consultation with one of our simulation training experts.
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