Dynamic Web Based Virtual Patients

Not too long ago PBL learning was the “hot new thing” in medical education. Now educators in St. George’s School of Medicine in London are exploring a different type of PBL called Dynamic-PBL. Dynamic PBL provides web based interactive cases that provides learners with a series of patient management pathways. In 2014, Dr. Poulton and colleagues performed a randomized controlled study exploring the efficacy in D-PBL vs. Linear PBL in midterm exam scores. The study design was a crossover design with students switching between the D-PBL and linear groups during the semester. Investigators did find that students did better in the D-PBL group at least in questions that pertained to D-PBL. Although such results are not entirely convincing for the use of “Dynamic Web Based Virtual Patients”, such a learning tool seems to be more aligned with real world scenarios where clinicians are faced with multiple management pathways and there is no one right answer. I imagine such a method is similar to UCI’s simulations, which have always been highly popular, although expensive to run.

  1. Poulton T, Ellaway RH, Round J, Jivram T, Kavia S, Hilton S.Exploring the Efficacy of Replacing Linear Paper-Based Patient Cases in Problem-Based Learning With Dynamic Web-Based Virtual Patients: Randomized Controlled Trial.J Med Internet Res 2014;16(11):e240.URL: https://www.jmir.org/2014/11/e240.DOI: 10.2196/jmir.3748.PMID: 25373314 PMCID: 4259985

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