Development of simulated cases to compare student knowledge retention and perception versus written cases

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American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

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Objectives: To determine if there is a difference in academic performance and student learning experience/confidence between students doing a simulated case versus a written case in small groups.

Method: This is a prospective, randomized crossover study of third year student pharmacists enrolled in Therapeutics III (PHAR 545). After attending a didactic session, students completed a pre-test, group case exercise, and a post-case quiz for two different cases. Students were randomized to two groups with each group doing one written case and one simulated case. Also students completed a survey regarding their perceptions and learning experiences of simulation laboratory exercises and written case exercises. Student post-quiz grades, change in pre and post quiz grades, and exam grades were compared using the wilcoxon rank sum.

Results: 86 students were randomized and completed both cases with assessments. There was not a difference between the methodologies for quizzes or exams scores.

Implications: Creating simulation experiences for students is a resource-intensive endeavor that, in many institutions, may require months of planning to ensure the logistics have all been accounted for. Developing activities that are beneficial to students will require that simulation is able to provide a more clinically-meaningful experience for students than written cases. Optimizing the utility of the simulation equipment, provision of adequate orientation to the simulation lab, and ensuring students have adequate time to solve the case should be considered when creating simulations.

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