Online case-based learning is a unique medium for learners to apply and reinforce their clinical knowledge to standardized patient scenarios. Often referred to as “virtual patient case studies,” online case-based learning encourages active problem solving by immersing the learner in a clinical decision process surrounding a specific issue or condition (e.g., staging of breast cancer). The learner is introduced to a simulated patient presenting with a unique history and then navigates through the case to gather additional information, determine a differential diagnosis, and make treatment decisions. Throughout this customizable, self-paced learning environment, the learner is provided with feedback based upon empirical guidelines and expert commentary. The inclusion of rich media, such as video, audio, and animations, enhances the training experience and appeals to different styles of learning.
Researchers have recently demonstrated that online case-based, continuing medical education programs achieved long-term improvements in clinical behaviors. In fact, a randomized, controlled study published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine 1 found that physicians who completed a series of online CME case studies on domestic abuse achieved significant improvement in their knowledge and confidence over one year when compared to a control group. These findings are also consistent with a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association 2 stating that, when designed correctly, online CME programs can achieve training outcomes comparable to live training sessions.
Keys to Successful Online Case-Based Learning
- Clear learning objectives
- Sound instructional design
- Evidence-based clinical decision trees
- Expert commentary and feedback
- Intuitive graphic design and navigation
- Highly-accessible technology
- Appropriate use of multimedia
- Measurable outcomes
At DLC Solutions, our Virtual Patient Case Studies combine expert content, sound instructional design, and multimedia to create a meaningful, engaging learning environment ideal for both medical professionals and biopharmaceutical sales representatives.
To learn more, visit: http://dlc-solutions.com/solutions/vcs.asp
Short L, Surprenant Z, Harris J. A community-based trial of online intimate partner violence CME Am J Prev Med. 2006;30(2):181-185.
Fordis M, et al. Comparison of the Instructional Efficacy of Internet-Based CME With Live Interactive CME Workshops. JAMA. 2005;294(9):1043-1051.