Using virtual worlds for role play simulation in child and adolescent psychiatry: an evaluation study

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Vallance, Aaron K. ; Hemani, Ashish ; Fernandez, Victoria ; Livingstone, Daniel ; McCusker, Kerri ; Toro-Troconis, Maria (2014)
  • Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Journal: The Psychiatric Bulletin (issn: 2053-4868, vol: 38, pp: 204-210)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1192/pb.bp.113.044396, pmc: PMC4180983
  • Subject: Original Papers
    mesheuropmc: education

Aims and method:\ud \ud To develop and evaluate a novel teaching session on clinical assessment using role play simulation. Teaching and research sessions occurred sequentially in computer laboratories. Ten medical students were divided into two online small-group teaching sessions. Students role-played as clinician avatars and the teacher played a suicidal adolescent avatar. Questionnaire and focus-group methodology evaluated participants’ attitudes to the learning experience. Quantitative data were analysed using SPSS, qualitative data through nominal-group and thematic analyses.\ud \ud Results:\ud \ud Participants reported improvements in psychiatric skills/knowledge, expressing less anxiety and more enjoyment than role-playing face to face. Simulator fidelity correlated positively with utility. Some participants expressed concern about added value over other learning methods and non-verbal communication. \ud \ud Clinical implications:\ud \ud The study shows that virtual worlds can successfully host role play simulation, valued by students as a useful learning method. The potential for distance learning would allow delivery irrespective of geographical distance and boundaries.
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