Turning constraints into opportunities: Online delivery of communication skills simulation sessions to undergraduate medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18820/2519593X/pie.v39.i4.5

Keywords:

Communication skills training, COVID-19, Medical education, Online simulation, Zoom online platform

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted higher-learning institutions. Communication skills training in medical education needed innovative solutions to adjust to the situation. In times of change, evaluation channels should be developed, and any problems raised by learners and educators should be responded to rapidly. A remotely facilitated communication skills simulation-based training programme was piloted by the clinical skills laboratory tutors using Zoom as the online platform. The goal of the pilot session was to establish a communication skills training strategy remotely, to test an online session using the defined online platform and to assess its effectiveness. Though locally facilitated face-to-face simulationbased training as the conventional format is easier to use and experience, training on virtual simulation-based communication skills enabled through the online portal has been described by participants as both feasible and effective. The results show that an efficient educational environment can be provided by remote simulation of communication skills. An important requirement for learner engagement with remotely facilitated simulation-based training is the development of contextual understanding, multiple exposures and a respectful learner-teacher relationship. Any negative impact of remotely facilitated simulation-based training may be concealed by an overarching high perceived value of simulation-based trainings in general. This pilot online simulation programme shows the value of using this modality and lays the foundation for communication skills teaching during future disasters. There is the need to consider how online simulation can be sustained after the pandemic and not just returning to the conventional face-to-face teaching and learning.

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Published

2021-12-06

How to Cite

Abraham, R. (2021). Turning constraints into opportunities: Online delivery of communication skills simulation sessions to undergraduate medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perspectives in Education, 39(4), 57-71. https://doi.org/10.18820/2519593X/pie.v39.i4.5

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Section

Research articles