7 May 2017

International Research Breakthrough at Cégep de Sherbrooke: Simulation Learning

The concrete benefits of simulation learning to acquire knowledge have now been proven. Indeed, the Cégep de Sherbrooke is proud to unveil the results of this multicentred research that has proven beyond doubt the benefits of this learning approach. Led by Ivan L. Simoneau, teacher of nursing care and researcher, this research project thus confirms the premise behind the inauguration of the Centre de recherche et de formation par simulation (CEREFS) simulation research and training centre in 2015, i.e., that students learning through simulation have a higher learning and retention rate.

At the international level, this is the first research project to extensively investigate the effectiveness of simulation learning, which makes it a major breakthrough that will doubtlessly impact teaching methods throughout the world.

Let us recall that using high-fidelity simulator mannequins for learning has a proven track record at the Cégep de Sherbrooke and enables students to use state-of-the-art equipment to develop their skills through authentic learning scenarios, based on reality and taking place in a setting similar to that of hospital care units. Students also have access to observation and debriefing rooms to round up their training through sessions aimed at going over their newly acquired skills.

The research project

The study was led by Ivan L. Simoneau, in partnership with Bruno Pilote, teacher of nursing care at the Cégep de Sainte-Foy, with the collaboration of Gilles Raîche, Professor at the Department of Education and Teaching at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), and Christophe Chénier, lecturer at UQAM and Ph.D. candidate.

Spread over a three-year period, the research project is based on a statistical data analysis process to draw up a questionnaire on cardiology, a topic that is part of the core training of all nursing care students. Following this formula, two multiple choice questionnaires were developed and submitted to students before and after tests to collect data.

Conclusive results

Once ready, the questionnaires were submitted to 177 third-year nursing students, who all had previously acquired knowledge of cardiology. Two groups were consulted to gather quantitative data. The control group consisted of 84 subjects from six cegeps whose classes did not include simulation learning. As for the experimental group, it was comprised of 93 subjects from the Sainte-Foy and Sherbrooke cegeps whose training included simulation learning.

The findings from the questionnaires revealed significant discrepancies between both groups. Indeed, the post-test performance of students who had been through simulation learning was 29% higher than that of students in the other group, which clearly demonstrates their higher knowledge level. In addition, the increase in knowledge of cardiology of students from the experimental group increased was three times that of students from the control group.

These statistics clearly demonstrate the pedagogical effectiveness of simulation learning and are the logical outcome of Mr. Simoneau’s previous research.

This research project from Simoneau and Pilote on the effectiveness of simulation learning for acquiring knowledge is the capstone of a set of three research projects, and will likely impact the perception of teachers around the world!

Read Mr. Simoneau’s most recent research report, only available in French: Effet d’une séquence d’enseignements évolutifs assistés par la simulation clinique sur l’acquisition des connaissances en cardiologie chez des étudiants du programme Soins infirmiers.

Source and photo credits: Cégep de Sherbrooke

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