Student engagement is a decisive part of educational learning, which broadens the level of incitement helping them to learn and progress in their education. Student engagement refers to the intensity of attention, interest, optimism and psychological investment which student makes in their learning. This helps them to try hard to learn what school offers. Student engagement rate depends upon their presence in class. Research shows that students who used to blow off their lectures are less likely to concentrate than those who regularly and eagerly attend their classes. Students’ engagement and involvement in lectures dynamically accord them to their academic excellence. While coming up to health care education, medical student’s engagement lead them to become a good health care professional.
Due to the pandemic, all the academic activities were supposed to shift online including medical education which leads to the low engagement of students towards studies as they were not physically present in the lecture and they were not having the opportunity to practice on real patients for safety purposes. So, for increasing students’ engagement and learning, virtual patients were introduced in the health care line which turns out to be extremely beneficial. Virtual patients, due to their innovative idea, plays a significant role in grabbing students’ attention towards studies. There are many ways suggested by experts for engaging medical students with virtual patients.
Following are the 7 main ways suggested by experts for medical professors which are instrumental in involving student attention:
- Put down your goals and objective of teaching clearly
- Establishing an adequate feedback system
- Selecting the most relevant academic content
- Conducting Problem-Based learning sessions in small groups
- Encourage peer group learning
- Taking your students interest in gamification
- Independent learning
Put down your goals and objective of teaching clearly
You are the one to decide which types of patients and diseases your students are going to study in their clinical practice for their sufficient understanding. So choose the course outline and cases which you are going to assign your students for clinical practice clearly so that they will be going to keep their motivation and interest in practicing on clinical cases. Introducing virtual patients to your course curriculum helps professors to draws student attention towards lectures and track students’ progress.
Establishing an adequate feedback system
Giving feedback to the students about their assignment or therapeutics they have suggested to the patient is key in keeping them engaged. Although we know that dealing with every student individually, helping and supporting them is a time taking task for the instructor and they also have other students to deal with. So, replacing it with a virtual patient platform eases educators by generating automated feedback to the students on their performance helping them understand why their decision was correct or incorrect.
Selecting the most relevant academic content
Faculty have access to select the course content for the students. When teachers are having an approach to virtual patient platforms they have the opportunity to choose the most relevant cases for the students for their clinical practice. The custom configuration feature of the Virtual patient pool makes it easy for the teachers to set cases to different segments of students’ profiles. These segments can be classified as homework and class works assignments.
Conducting Problem-Based learning sessions in small groups
Conducting Problem-based learning (PBL) in small groups helps students in building good communication skills, foster engagement and by mutual discussion, they can find a better diagnosis for the disease. Virtual patients consist of enormous clinical cases of different category which sets professors free of crafting cases anymore. The only thing you have to do is select a virtual clinical case, test it first on your own then assign it to your class group to solve it together.
Encourage peer group learning
Facilitating teamwork in your students increases their engagement in learning. Assigning a case of a virtual patient to your students and asking them to solve it together in a small working group so that each student can put in his/her idea about the right diagnosis and clinical decisions together, just like in real life.
Taking your students interest in gamification
Gamified systems are increasing demand in the world and continue to increase in the coming year too. Studies show that gamification participants score 14% higher on skill-based assessments.
More according to a survey 72% of employees claim that gaming encourages them to work harder and helps them in engaging their job.
The concept of gamification is to introduce game mechanics to a non-game environment to increase consumer participation. For example Uber gamification idea, Food Panda gamification, Starbucks gamification, etc.
When it comes to medical the idea of including gamification is the main factor of diverting students’ attention towards studies. Especially in this challenging time of the pandemic, students demand more than just education which helps them unite and awakens the spirit of learning.
Students appreciate all those activities that are not only educational but also fun themselves. Gamification in the medical field yields students’ attention helps them concentrate more on their learning. The concept of gamification in the health care line is introduced as a virtual patient.
Encourage your students to practice virtually by examining virtual patients with different cases. Assign them with a different task. Ask them to take it as a challenge and set a goal for them just like in games.
Conduct online competition individually or in a team format. Ask students to work on the assigned clinical scenarios in a limited lapse of time during the competition. This also helps students in making decisions rapidly.
Foster independent learning among your students by allowing them to immerse themselves in their interests. All students have a topic of interest in medicine. Encourage them to acquire extra practice and knowledge in their topics of interest. After completing the curriculum assignments ask your students to practice a certain number of cases on the topics they are into.
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All in all, The virtual patient platform is a key factor in encouraging students’ engagement towards their course and learning by providing them more opportunities of practicing and a source of fun and education both at the same time.
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