Scenario Based Learning for Healthcare Professionals

What is scenario based learning?

Scenario based learning is a practical approach to learning where in students develop problem solving skills by being exposed to ‘problems’ or ‘cases’ that are replicas of actual scenarios that they may face at work. It is based on the principles of situated learning theory(Lave & Wenger, 1991) which postulates that learning happens best when it takes place in the context that it is going to be applied to. Learners attempt to work their way through scenarios which are presented like a story. This technique is extremely successful in helping learners gain a comprehensive understanding of the concept at hand, because SBL is often non-linear and cases have a multiplicity of factors and constraints. Learners must apply their subject knowledgeand critical thinking to assess these and resolve a complex problem. Learners are thus better able to appreciate the interplay of cause and effect relationships as well as the various factors affecting a typical case.

Scenario Based Learning for Healthcare Professionals

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Applications in healthcare

Since healthcare professionals must deal with actual medical cases which require critical thinking and decision making, SBL is a wonderful technique to impart them the necessary training. Not only can it help with training young practitioners who are yet to fully understand the interactions among medications and potential patient conditions such as body weight, age, vital signs, allergies to specific drugs, etc., it can also help established professionals to quickly absorb the results of new research in medicine and apply them for their patients.

Integrating e-learning and m-learning

Healthcare professionals do not always have the time to attend special classroom sessions. So, technology based learning in the form of e-learning and/or m-learning can give them the necessary just-in-time support, as well as complement their traditional classroom learning. Apps (based on the concept of gamification) where in practicing doctors are required to solve patient cases by monitoring doses, or integration of Augmented Reality programs to create interactive scenarios for surgeons can provide them with extraordinary performance support. Additionally, by creating discussion forums accessible both via computers and mobile devices, one can actually facilitate shared problem solving and create communities of practice.

Scenario based learning works very effectively when it is applied to simulate real-world practice, which may not always be achievable within the boundaries of a theoretical course.Apart from healthcare, it also has applications in other fields such as engineering, agriculture, manufacturing, etc. where employees can be better prepared for critical incidents and challenging situations in a safe yet real world manner, and be provided with corrective feedback.

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