How we "breathed life" into problem-based learning cases using a mobile application

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Journal Article

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Mclean, M., Brazil, V., & Johnson, P. (2014). How we ‘‘breathed life’’ into problem-based learning cases using a mobile application. Medical Teacher (online), 36, 849-852.

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Background: Problem-based learning (PBL) has been widely adopted in medical education. Learners become bored with paper based cases as they progress through their studies. Aim: To breathe life (i.e. develop virtual patients) into paper-based PBL cases. Methods: The ‘‘patients’’ in paper-based PBL cases in one Year 2 were transformed into virtual patients by simulated patients roleplaying and the videos and associated patient data uploaded to Bond’s Virtual Hospital, a mobile Application. In unsupervised ‘‘clinical teams’’, second-year students undertook ‘‘ward rounds’’ twice a week, prompted by a virtual consultant and registered nurse. Immediately following the ‘‘ward rounds’’, they met with a clinician facilitator to discuss their ‘‘patients’’. Results: Apart from some minor technical issues, the experience was rated positively by students and clinical facilitators. They claimed that it provided students with a sense of what happens in the real world of medicine. The group work skills students had developed during PBL stood them in good stead to self-manage their ‘‘clinical teams’’. Conclusions: This more authentic PBL experience will be extended to earlier semesters as well as later in the curriculum as the virtual hospital can be used to expose learners to a profile of patients that may not be guaranteed during hospital rounds.

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