Featured Article| Volume 12, ISSUE 9, P377-384, September 2016

Online Virtual Simulation and Diagnostic Reasoning: A Scoping Review


      • Online virtual simulation is comparable to traditional simulation methods.
      • Students reported that virtual patients were more realistic than standard actor patients.
      • Students reported increased engagement with learning.



      Virtual reality technology can range from bedside learning to computerized tools accessed exclusively online; yet there is little evidence of the effectiveness of online virtual simulation for teaching diagnostic reasoning to health care providers. To address this gap, an examination of virtual simulation encounters in the online classroom was undertaken to inform education of a variety of health care providers, including nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and physicians.


      Arskey and O'Malley's (2005) framework was the methodology used to conduct the scoping review.


      Twelve studies published between 2008 and 2015 were identified from a search of 14 databases. The study sample included physicians and medical students (seven), baccalaureate nursing students (two), associate degree nursing students (one), and providers from other fields such as pharmacists, physiotherapists, sports medicine, forensics, and veterinarians.


      Online virtual simulation was comparable or superior to traditional simulation methods where increased engagement with learning occurred in a safe environment with convenient access.


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