Disciplines: Evaluating Learning Outcomes

Health Sciences

The majority of the literature suggests that a clinical setting is the best mode of simulation for evaluating the success of simulated learning in the Health Sciences.  For example, a suturing simulation sought to improve the precision of students in a surgical clerkship. Pre and post precision scores were collected and analyzed against final pass rates to assess whether the simulation improved student performance (Pender et al., 2017). Alternatively, in scenarios that seek to improve upon a range of soft and hard skills, questionnaires and surveys can be useful. In one case, a structured questionnaire was used to evaluate the experience and perceived competencies of students who participated in a simulated ward exercise (Mole & Mclafferty, 2004).

Natural Sciences

Natural science classrooms use a range of virtual and laboratory simulation to enhance student learning. Physics simulations or ‘LabSims’ aimed to help prepare students for the laboratory. An evaluation of simulations as a precursor to lab work employed pre and post exercises that tested students’ knowledge of the laboratory (Paetkau et al., 2013). Other virtual and computer based simulations have been evaluated through student interviews and questionnaires (Neumann et al., 2012; Richardson et al., 2013).

Social Sciences

Social Sciences classrooms do not typically rely on clinical or experimental settings (i.e. laboratory) that are equipped for data collection like the natural and health sciences do. Instead ,instructors have used a range of evaluation methods including surveys (McCarthy & Anderson, 2000) to assess the effectiveness of role-play simulations in social science classrooms.  In this case, the author employed pre and post surveys to assess the student’s self-perceived learning outcomes following the simulation (Schnurr et al., 2014).