Simulation in the Classroom
Simulation-based learning allows students to apply abstract concepts to active hands-on practice. An example of this would be reading how to do an echocardiogram on a patient with aortic stenosis and then scanning that protocol on a simulator (such as Heartworx) before performing it on a real patient. By doing this the instructor is able to gather measurable data on the students and can monitor how well the student is doing. Most importantly, with simulation, we are increasing the safety for not only our students but for people (such as patients) as well.
What is the instructional problem?
All throughout education students “learn” material, but do they really “understand” the material being taught? Many students can memorize the course work and are able to regurgitate that information back to you but they can’t perform the task taught or explain the how and why that is taught because they don’t have the “understanding” of the concepts. Unfortunately, most students cannot take part or participate in real life situations until they are out in the work force and they are learning on the job and dealing with real situations. Many students do not know the relationship between variables and how to think how one thing affects another. This is where simulation in the classroom comes in.
What is simulation? Simulation is the re-creation of a “real-life” process or situation in a controlled environment. Educational simulation is a teaching method that tests and evaluates the students’ knowledge, skill level and understanding of a topic by putting them is scenarios where they must solve problems in which the instructor defines the parameters and it creates a safe hands-on learning environment.
What is to be learned?
There are many reasons why simulation can and should be used in the classroom. Simulation actively engages student to student or student to instructor conversations. Students are active participants in anticipating the outcomes, asking questions throughout the simulation and concluding what is performed. Simulation requires students to think about how and why they did something during the simulation. So, this in turn should hopefully refine their thought process and understanding of the material. While doing simulation students will also apply their knowledge to new problems or situations that may arise and that requires students to interrogate and extend what they have learned in earlier situations.
Who will learn?
This course is for all instructors (mainly, but not limited to higher education) who want to engage their students with hands on learning and who want to increase student engagement. Simulations promote the use of critical and evaluative thinking and since the situation puts the students in a “real life” situation they become more engaged and will result in more interaction by the students.
1. Real life experiences – can perform tasks before performing on real people
2. Immediate feedback – teachers can give immediate feedback
3. Knowledge retention – with hands on activities students retain more
4. Cooperation and competition – students learn from each other through observation and collaboration
5. Quantifiable Training – measure students’ progress