Using simulation pedagogy to teach clinical education skills: A randomized trial

Clare Holdsworth, Elizabeth H. Skinner, Clare M. Delany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Supervision of students is a key role of senior physiotherapy clinicians in teaching hospitals. The objective of this study was to test the effect of simulated learning environments (SLE) on educators’ self-efficacy in student supervision skills. Methods: A pilot prospective randomized controlled trial with concealed allocation was conducted. Clinical educators were randomized to intervention (SLE) or control groups. SLE participants completed two 3-hour workshops, which included simulated clinical teaching scenarios, and facilitated debrief. Standard Education (StEd) participants completed two online learning modules. Change in educator clinical supervision self-efficacy (SE) and student perceptions of supervisor skill were calculated. Between-group comparisons of SE change scores were analyzed with independent t-tests to account for potential baseline differences in education experience. Results: Eighteen educators (n = 18) were recruited (SLE [n = 10], StEd [n = 8]). Significant improvements in SE change scores were seen in SLE participants compared to control participants in three domains of self-efficacy: (1) talking to students about supervision and learning styles (p = 0.01); (2) adapting teaching styles for students’ individual needs (p = 0.02); and (3) identifying strategies for future practice while supervising students (p = 0.02). Conclusions: This is the first study investigating SLE for teaching skills of clinical education. SLE improved educators’ self-efficacy in three domains of clinical education. Sample size limited the interpretation of student ratings of educator supervision skills. Future studies using SLE would benefit from future large multicenter trials evaluating its effect on educators’ teaching skills, student learning outcomes, and subsequent effects on patient care and health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-295
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2016


  • Education
  • pilot
  • randomized controlled trial
  • self-efficacy
  • simulation
  • teaching methods

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