Article

Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 33-39

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Simulation-Based Teaching versus Traditional Instruction in Medicine: A Pilot Study among Clinical Medical Students

  • James A. GordonAffiliated withCenter for Medical SimulationG.S. Beckwith Gilbert and Katharine S. Gilbert Medical Education Program in Medical Simulation, Harvard Medical SchoolDepartment of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General HospitalDepartment of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital Email author 
  • , David W. ShafferAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • , Daniel B. RaemerAffiliated withCenter for Medical SimulationDepartment of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • , John PawlowskiAffiliated withCenter for Medical SimulationG.S. Beckwith Gilbert and Katharine S. Gilbert Medical Education Program in Medical Simulation, Harvard Medical SchoolDepartment of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • , William E. HurfordAffiliated withCenter for Medical SimulationDepartment of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Massachusetts General HospitalDepartment of Anesthesia, University of Cincinnati
  • , Jeffrey B. CooperAffiliated withCenter for Medical SimulationDepartment of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital

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Abstract

Objective: To compare simulator-based teaching with traditional instruction among clinical medical students. Methods: Randomized controlled trial with written pre-post testing. Third-year medical students (n = 38) received either a myocardial infarction (MI) simulation followed by a reactive airways disease (RAD) lecture, or a RAD simulation followed by an MI lecture. Results: Mean pre-post test score improvement was seen across teaching modalities (overall change score [simulation] = 8.8 [95% CI = 2.3–15.3], pretest [62.7]; change score [lecture] = 11.3 [95% CI = 5.7–16.9], pretest [59.7]). However, no significant differences were observed between simulator-based teaching and lecture, in either subject domain. Conclusions: After a single instructional session for clinical medical students, differences between simulator-based teaching and lecture could not be established by the written test protocols used in this pilot. Future studies should consider the effects of iterative exposure assessed by clinical performance measures across multiple centers.